South Burnett Regional Council arts portfolio holder Danita Potter with Central Queensland Wide Bay-Burnett cluster arts officer Trudie Leigo

December 19, 2018

A meeting in Kingaroy to help frame a 10-year “roadmap” for the future direction of arts in Queensland attracted about 40 local artists, musicians and singers.

Groups represented included the Blackbutt Singers, the Wondai and Kingaroy art galleries, South Burnett Community Orchestra, South Burnett Musical Comedy Society, South Burnett Chorale, South Burnett Arts, Topology, Fibre Arts and the Wondai Town Band as well as many individual artists and musicians.

The meeting was held on December 11 in the Kingaroy Town Hall Reception Room and was the only roadmap forum held in inland Queensland.

It was organised by Arts Queensland and compered by Sue Davis from Central Queensland University.

CQ Uni has been chosen as the local service provider for Queensland’s new Regional Arts Services Network (RASN).

The area that CQ Uni is responsible for has a population of almost 643,000 stretching from the Whitsundays to the Central Highlands and South Burnett.

Arts officers have been appointed to work with three defined clusters within this area.

Sue was accompanied at the forum by Trudie Leigo, who has been given responsibility for the Wide Bay-Burnett cluster which includes the South Burnett and Cherbourg council areas.

Trudie’s position has been funded for two days week with the aim of developing cross-regional strategies and projects.

However, Sue explained it was not possible for Trudie to serve as an on-the-ground arts officer across the region.

“When the original consultation was done for setting up this regional arts network, the recommendation from the sector was for at least $20 million (funding),” Sue said.

“The funding that came down from government is actually $6 million, and it was to cover the Backing Indigenous Arts strategy as well as the regional arts network.

“And then that’s divided across the sector statewide. The amount that it would take to fund it well, and what we’ve got, don’t match.”

The meeting broke up into small groups to discuss various questions and suggestions posed by an Arts Queensland discussion paper.

A suggested draft vision, ie. “Queensland’s unique and innovative arts, cultural and creative sector is a key driver in strengthening the State’s local and visitor economy, supporting employment and enriching the lives of Queenslanders and their communities” attracted some criticism from the floor of the meeting.

More emphasis on arts was suggested, with less focus on economic development.

The answers were collated, and will be added to the results of other meetings held throughout Queensland for analysis.

Sue said a website to cover the new Central Queensland Regional Arts Services Network, to be called “CQ Regional Arts”, was going to be set up for artists to get updates.

In the meantime, Trudi could be contacted via email on

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After a short break, the Arts Queensland forum was followed by a local arts discussion hosted by the South Burnett Regional Council.

Much discussion concerned Council’s RADF scheme.

Council’s Senior Economic Development Officer, Craig Tunley, explained that arts came within his economic development budget but there was no money specifically set aside for arts.

However, the RADF funding was separate again, being dealt with under community grants.

A need to improve networking between artists and arts groups was identified during the discussion, as well as a plea for more financial support for local artists.

Craig said he was currently organising quarterly tourism meetings (“Tourism Unpacked”) and business meetings (“Business XL”) to encourage networking between participants.

He suggested a “Creative Roundtable” group be organised to achieve the same result for the arts sector.

The first meeting of the new group will be held on Thursday, February 28, from 4:30pm at a venue to be advised.

Related links:

Sue Davis, from Central Queensland University, led the discussion for the 10-year “roadmap”
Sue Davis (CQU) with Peter Peacey (South Burnett Woodcrafters) and Terry Jacobsen (Wondai Town Band)
Artists Ina Patterson, Nanango; Robyn Dower, Tingoora; and Wondai Art Gallery vice-president Amanda Delahoy-Seiler
Artists Judy Gray, Tablelands; Diana Bolton, Wooroolin; Lyn Felsman, Nanango; and Kingaroy Art Team (KAT) president Fran van Vegchel
KAT art director Catherine Woodham with Blackbutt Singers music director Judy Lawrence

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