Norpa general manager Patrick Healey
Norpa general manager Patrick Healey contributed

Artistic regional voices ignored in ‘inquiry’

REGIONAL voices are being ignored, according to NORPA’s general manager Patrick Healey.

Mr Healy is referring to the recent Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Broadcasting, Online Content and Live Production to Rural and Regional Australia which he describes as a failure.

On 1 December 2015 the Committee resolved to inquire into the importance of public and commercial broadcasting, online content and live production to rural and regional Australia. The Inquiry was chaired by Bronwyn Bishop and its report was tabled in parliament on 5 May 2016. 

Public hearings for the Inquiry were held exclusively in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

The committee had intended to travel to regional areas to hear from stakeholders however this was cancelled to push through the completion of its report. 

“The process of this inquiry was flawed from the outset,” Mr Healey said.

“It is difficult to imagine that any kind of inquiry about regional Australia thought to only hold public meetings in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. As a result, the inquiry’s report is flawed and lacking in any regional perspective.

“The inquiry made the improbable assumption that rural and regional Australia is only ever the recipient of metropolitan theatre work and is void of performance companies that generate new or significant work in live performance.

Mr Healey said the inquiry failed to realise that companies like NORPA develop and engage audiences, drive marketing and subscription programs, and are already delivering education programs.

Nine recommendations relate to live performance in regional Australia.

All of these recommendations relate to enabling major city-based performing arts companies to tour their works to regional centres, rather than supporting regional arts companies to create and produce their own stories. 

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