Sydney (Press Release): The NSW Nationals have thanked Labor for finally endorsing their groundbreaking Regional Cultural Fund and supporting them in prioritising arts and cultural projects in regional NSW.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said he welcomed the unexpected and significantly delayed endorsement from Labor following a windfall of funding for arts and cultural projects in the regions thanks to the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government.

“In the past year alone the NSW Nationals have funded over $100 million worth of projects in the arts and culture space throughout regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said.

“From $7.6 million for the Grafton Regional Gallery to $4.5 million for Orange Regional Gallery, $3.9 million for the Roxy Theatre in Leeton and $1.3 for Goulburn Regional Conservatorium – our track record shows that arts and culture is a priority for the Nationals.

“This is on top of the NSW Government’s Creative Kids program rolling out $216 million over four years, giving $100 rebates for every school-aged child to access creative learning activities – not to mention another $78 million from the Create NSW Arts and Culture Development Program.

“Labor has finally jumped on the band wagon, even adopting the name of the Regional Cultural Fund, announcing they will attempt to follow in the footsteps of the Liberal and Nationals Government and support arts and culture.

“It’s wonderful the Labor party is finally recognising this creative sector, though it’s disappointing it has taken this long and I question their sincerity.

“Art, screen, culture, music and performance are at the heart and soul of regional NSW and that is why this government created the Regional Cultural Fund – to provide locals the opportunity to enjoy more entertaining and educational experiences in their home towns, while generating social, economic and tourism benefits across the state.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – regional NSW is the greatest place to live – and by improving and supporting local art galleries, libraries and public art we are making towns and cities across the regions even more vibrant places to live, study, work and play,” he said.

Projects under the NSW Liberal and Nationals Regional Cultural Fund include:

  • 32 museums
  • 26 theatres
  • 12 libraries
  • 11 galleries

Mr Barilaro said the Regional Cultural Fund is part of the NSW Government’s $1.6 billion Regional Growth Fund, designed to improve economic growth and productivity and make regional NSW a stronger, more vibrant place for generations to come.

“It is typical of Labor to merely acknowledge the regional arts and culture space at this late stage with an election looming – an endorsement we cannot rely on,” Mr Barilaro said.