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Features/Multi-arts

Who gets your arts vote in City of Perth elections?

21 September 2020

A new day is dawning for the City of Perth with elections underway for a new city council. This survey of six candidates nominating for Lord Mayor reveals their arts policies. Rosalind Appleby reports.

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The City of Perth elections for eight new councillors and a Lord Mayor are underway, offering the unusual opportunity to establish an entirely new council for the City. Seesaw Magazine, in partnership with the Chamber of Arts and Culture, has conducted a survey asking candidates nominating for the role of Lord Mayor about their arts policies.

As the state capital city, the city council has a central role in tourism, business and economic development. The Lord Mayor has a leadership role in ensuring the city continues to develop and flourish, and Perth’s cultural life is crucial to these goals.

If you are a City of Perth resident postal votes will be coming your way this week and voting closes on 17 October. The table below compares the candidates responses to three questions regarding their arts policies, which you may find useful to inform your voting.

Basil Zempilas
“Rebooting Perth’s Heart”

1. The City’s Cultural Development Plan 2019-2029 was created in consultation with the sector. Is there a strategy from this you will be prioritising?

The first strategy – “A City For People” (#1) is a priority for most ratepayers I speak with, particularly the importance of a sense of safety and security. If families feel safe visiting and living in our City, everyone will feel safe.

2. Perth has struggled for many years to overcome the perception that arts and culture are not a strong part of the City experience – particularly in tourist perceptions. What do you think can be done to change this?

Throughout my 30 year career I have always aimed to champion Perth, locally, nationally and internationally. If I am elected Lord Mayor, nothing changes. I will continue to promote Perth at every opportunity. And my promise to you is to seek and attract compelling people focused events and attractions to bring life and prosperity to our City.

3. The decline of traditional business models within the City has been accelerated by COVID-19. How can the arts and culture play a role in re-shaping Perth into a city of the future?

When interstate and international tourists are able return to our City, we need to use every opportunity to attract them to visit Perth. That’s why I will champion Perth’s own Vivid-style light, music and ideas festival, the First ever Indigenous Museum in Australia and the 2027 Special Olympics global games for Perth.

Tim Schwass
“Good Governance”

1. The City’s Cultural Development Plan 2019-2029 was created in consultation with the sector. Is there a strategy from this you will be prioritising?

The plan speaks for itself. COVID has made it and all other plans redundant.

2. Perth has struggled for many years to overcome the perception that arts and culture are not a strong part of the City experience – particularly in tourist perceptions. What do you think can be done to change this?

Perth has a one-off opportunity. Many of Perth’s performers normally employed in Paris, London on Cruise Ships etc have returned home as their work has stopped. We can and should celebrate our hard earned COVID-free status and facilitate our talent being employed and enjoyed. Organised chaos and spontaneity should be mandated in arts and culture.

3. The decline of traditional business models within the City has been accelerated by COVID-19. How can the arts and culture play a role in re-shaping Perth into a city of the future?

If cost neutral to the ratepayers, as mayor, I will be championing arts and culture as if there is no tomorrow. The opportunity to catch up and put Perth on the map should not be missed.

Mark Gibson “Living in our city, working for Perth”

1. The City’s Cultural Development Plan 2019-2029 was created in consultation with the sector. Is there a strategy from this you will be prioritising?

My vision is for a city humming with performers, artists and musicians, especially post-COVID as we look for ways to draw people back into the city. My campaign is based very much around city vibrancy and giving families a reason to return to the centre of town.

2. Perth has struggled for many years to overcome the perception that arts and culture are not a strong part of the City experience – particularly in tourist perceptions. What do you think can be done to change this?

If elected, I will push for the City to pay performers to entertain crowds and shoppers, I will block off some city streets to cars for periods on weekends and bring Perth alive in a safe and fun-filled way.

3. The decline of traditional business models within the City has been accelerated by COVID-19. How can the arts and culture play a role in re-shaping Perth into a city of the future?

Culture and the arts play a vital role in the health and vibrancy of any city, especially Perth. I live in the heart of our city and have been a great supporter of the arts for many years, so I completely understand the importance of a thriving sector.

Di Bain “Inclusive. Accountable. Committed.”

1. The City’s Cultural Development Plan 2019-2029 was created in consultation with the sector. Is there a strategy from this you will be prioritising?

#1 “A city For people”, and #5 “A city that celebrates its diverse cultural identity”. Perth has lost its unique selling point, something you don’t get in suburban shopping centres, and that is arts and culture. We need to grab and support our artists to help us redefine what it means to come into the city and so they can make our city sing.

2. Perth has struggled for many years to overcome the perception that arts and culture are not a strong part of the City experience – particularly in tourist perceptions. What do you think can be done to change this?

80% of tourists are looking for an indigenous cultural experience, so we need to ensure people are getting what they want. I will establish “The Lord Mayor’s Ministry for Sound & Sight” which will pull together peak arts and music experts to curate our performance and musical calendar. Artists, performers and culture will lead a re-imagination of Perth’s brand. I want our City’s identity played out by artists on our streets. Inspired by the success of the Fringe and Perth Festivals, I will support a year-round program of events to give our City soul. Support light installations that culminate in a festival in 2022 which celebrates the 60th anniversary of when Perth became internationally recognised as the City of Lights.

3. The decline of traditional business models within the City has been accelerated by COVID-19. How can the arts and culture play a role in re-shaping Perth into a city of the future?

The city of the future is not about commercial success, it is about people. We need to focus on achieving inner city residential population targets and in order to support the soul of our city we need arts and culture. We need to reactivate our city for the future by revamping and re-prioritising City funding to underwrite street performance on the streets of Perth to a world-class scale. The City needs ways to look at its extraordinary heritage assets and make it real estate. Also, fund a grants program for property owners to light historical and key City buildings.



Brodie McCulloch
#LetsLeadChange

1. The City’s Cultural Development Plan 2019-2029 was created in consultation with the sector. Is there a strategy from this you will be prioritising?

The City of Perth now has some amazing infrastructure with the new museum opening in November and upgraded public spaces. My focus as Lord Mayor is to activate that infrastructure to create a vibrant city that attracts visitors and inspires workers and residents year-round.

Creating experiences that support artists and creative industries while ensuring a sustainable sector will be my focus. The Cultural Development Plan 2019 – 2029 outlines an annual program of cultural and creative sector development to better equip the sector for the changes not just delivered by COVID-19 but also technology and this should be brought forward to help with adaptation.

2. Perth has struggled for many years to overcome the perception that arts and culture are not a strong part of the City experience – particularly in tourist perceptions. What do you think can be done to change this?

Changing this perception needs to start with the residents and workers in Perth as they are the best advocates at a national and global level for the city. Providing the experiences and tools to these groups and tourists so they can promote Perth to the world will take time but starts with every event, exhibition and performance.

3. The decline of traditional business models within the City has been accelerated by COVID-19. How can the arts and culture play a role in re-shaping Perth into a city of the future.

Arts and Culture is key to not just COVID recovery to position Perth as a Smart, Vibrant and Global City. Changing our mindset as to how we approach supporting the community where all can thrive will provide opportunities for everyone.

In global disruptions of the past, it is Arts and Culture organisations that have helped to reframe thinking and open people to new ideas. The ability to have an idea and bring that idea to life for the benefit of others will be needed more than ever and as Lord Mayor, I will need your support to make that happen.



Sandie Anghie
#CelebratePerth

1. The City’s Cultural Development Plan 2019-2029 was created in consultation with the sector. Is there a strategy from this you will be prioritising?

There are many great strategies and ideas in the Plan and I think the whole plan needs to be a priority – and integrated within the City’s other plans including the Strategic Community Plan for 2019-2, COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, and Neighbourhood Plan.

While Perth ranks well for many liveability factors, it currently ranks 169th in the world for culture. So while Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide all made it into the top 10 most liveable cities in 2018 and 2019, Perth missed out – and, as a result, missed tourism and business opportunities.

2. Perth has struggled for many years to overcome the perception that arts and culture are not a strong part of the City experience – particularly in tourist perceptions. What do you think can be done to change this?

For Perth to be a vibrant city – alive and internationally recognised for creativity and cultural experiences – we need to commit to making cultural development an integral part of all planning.

We need to start celebrating the great things we have and making arts and culture more visible – think of the impact when Fringe Festival takes over each year.

We are privileged to be home to the world’s oldest living culture and we should celebrate this through a World Centre for Indigenous Culture – and by celebrating Indigenous culture throughout our City.

3. The decline of traditional business models within the City has been accelerated by COVID-19. How can the arts and culture play a role in re-shaping Perth into a city of the future?

Arts and culture can play a central role in re-shaping Perth’s future and economy. A local business owner reminded me this week of the huge impact of Perth Festival’s “The Giants”, with local restaurants and cafes running out of food with the crowds. We need more festivals, events, arts and culture in our City all year round. By supporting the arts we are supporting local businesses.

As Lord Mayor, I would be looking at how we can reallocate some of the City’s $10m+ marketing budget to support our creative sector – and using the creative sector to deliver programs traditionally delivered by the City.

Pictured top: A new day dawns over Perth city. Photo Bruce Aspley

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Rosalind Appleby

Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind Appleby is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She is co-editor of Seesaw Magazine, author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine. She loves the percussion instruments which can be found in the uber cool parks.

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