The South Burnett’s “Tractor Tattoo” arts project won Queensland’s Regional Arts & Culture Award in 2013 … but not long afterwards, Council let its Arts Policy lapse

December 3, 2020

The South Burnett Regional Council will hire an Arts Development Officer to help set the direction of the region’s future Arts Policy.

At Wednesday’s Standing Committee meeting, Councillors were told the Council had received a grant from the special Works For Queensland COVID round to fund arts development in the region.

Council officers said a key deliverable for the role would be to help revise the Council’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Policy.

The Council’s former arts policy lapsed when it came due for renewal about eight years ago.

Since that time, the South Burnett has been one of the few Councils in Queensland that does not have an arts policy. This is despite the Council owning public art galleries in Kingaroy and Wondai; sponsoring several major local art competitions each year; owning a regional art collection that stretches back several decades; and operating a Regional Arts Development Fund program in conjunction with Arts Queensland.

Officers noted Council has recently entered into a separate agreement with CQ University and the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg Regional Councils to fund a joint arts project, and said the new position would complement that agreement.

Cr Kathy Duff asked if Council’s grant funding allowed for both an Arts Development Officer and an arts project to be funded.

CEO Mark Pitt confirmed funding covered both.

Cr Kirstie Schumacher said she supported the idea but was concerned the window to recruit a suitably qualified person was too short.

She asked if Council might consider making the position permanent.

Communities General Manager Peter O’May said ongoing funding for an Arts Development Officer would be need to be a Budget decision – the aim of the grant was to hire someone to set the region’s future strategy and deliver an arts project over the coming six months.

Mr Pitt said given the short time available, it was likely Council would engage a contractor to fill the role.

However, he was open to talking about ongoing funding for a more permanent position if Councillors wished to do that in the future.

The motion to appoint an Arts Development Officer was moved by Cr Danita Potter, seconded by Cr Roz Frohloff and carried unanimously.

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