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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts

Transcript of remarks at the announcement of funding to support a major revamp of the museum of contemporary art

E&OE Transcript
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
4 May 2010

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Thank you, Liz Ann [Macgregor, Director of the MCA] - a great day for this great institution.

To my Parliamentary colleagues:

Liz Ann to you, and to those of you that are here who have a real interest in and a commitment to the MCA. What a great day.

Persistence is one of the great qualities that any director of an institution which has the demands on them that the MCA has would need to have themselves. And Liz Ann Macgregor, as Anthony has pointed out, has had persistence in spades. And I want to highlight where that persistence has led her and this institution.

It has led to an important partnership between the Commonwealth and the State, with others participating as well. And that means that we're maximising the commitment of Federal Labor and State Labor, to providing the kind of support and resourcing for the infrastructure developments here that will not only have the economic benefits that have been pointed out, but will leave a lasting legacy.

But it is also the case that by working together we have also seen another profound contribution, made by the Mordant family - by Simon and Catriona - and I want to acknowledge that extraordinary bequest, the size of which enables this fantastic Museum to continue to flourish and to grow.

Just quickly, let's recognise what an important institution this is. Contemporary art is something which many Australians and many visitors want to get their teeth into - they want to experience it and they want to enjoy it. And of the contemporary art museums of the world, which Liz Ann mentioned briefly and the Premier as well, this is one of them. This is one of the great contemporary art institutions in the world and today's announcement will both concretise and develop that greatness.

You have had record attendances here in 2009, over half a million people coming here. And I have had the great opportunity of coming in and seeing the level of work that is being exhibited here, the high curatorial standards. I think about the Eliasson exhibition, just an incredible exhibition, taking a world renowned artist, locating them here in Circular Quay at the MCA, and just watch the people flooding in the doors and coming away with a great sense of stimulation and excitement about what they have seen.

Importantly, a National Centre for Creative Learning means that the connection between people who learn and understand and get some inkling of what art is about and what it does to them in the future, is made greater. And one of the things that this Government is very, very committed to is ensuring that Australians of all ages, in all areas, have access to and can participate in the arts experience, not only because it is enriching but because it is also, particularly for young Australians, very, very good for them, assisting in numeracy, literacy, encouraging that side of peoples growth and development when they are young, to innovate and to be imaginative. And just think of what can come out of a National Centre for Creative Learning at the MCA.

Finally, just to talk about the new technology that is involved. The fact is that we are going through an extraordinary period of change, where not only is technology affecting us through business and through leisure and through sport and through media and so on and so forth, but particularly through the way in which people actually consume and produce work. And the MCA, being an institution of contemporary work, will be even more contemporary because of the great delivery of the technology that will happen here, particularly in the new wing.

So this is a very, very important day for Sydney, for New South Wales and for the country as a whole. Congratulations as well to all involved.

Go the MCA!


Commonwealth of Australia