Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu today visited the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) in Southbank to unveil details of the Victorian Coalition Government's $24 million package for the VCA announced in the 2011-12 Victorian Budget.
Mr Baillieu was joined by Oscar-winning VCA graduate Adam Elliot and VCA students and staff to celebrate a new era for the VCA.
"The Coalition Government was proud to provide $24 million in last week's Budget to support our long-standing commitment to the future of the VCA," Mr Baillieu said.
"Many Victorians got behind the 2009 Save VCA campaign to restore funding and preserve the VCA's highly successful studio-based training and course affordability.
"I am very proud that we have delivered on our commitment to support the VCA as part of a Budget which invests strongly in the arts to maintain their position as one of Victoria's great competitive advantages."
Mr Baillieu said initiatives being negotiated as part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Coalition Government and the VCA included:
- scholarships including awards to outstanding students, support for disadvantaged students and professional development scholarships for graduates to be offered across all artforms with at least 60 percent dedicated to Victorian students;
- a National Graduate Opera Program in partnership with Victorian Opera to provide graduates with performance experience;
- a National Music Theatre and Cabaret Program to enhance career pathways for graduating students in partnership with the music theatre industry, with students working to develop a new Australian musical theatre production;
- master teachers and projects to provide support for on-campus or regionally-based specialist teaching and projects by artists at the top of their professions, including the development of innovative projects in partnership with arts industry organisations in the areas of puppetry and digital media; and
- an infrastructure fund to support development at VCA's Southbank campus, including support for small arts industry organisations to be accommodated on site, making it a dynamic hub for arts activity.
The agreement will also extend student opportunities to regional Victoria, with funding allocated to support a regional training program to take students on the road to perform, present or deliver workshops in regional communities.
"For almost 40 years, the VCA has been the premier training ground for outstanding Australian artists across a range of disciplines – from Adam Elliot to Julia Zemiro to Callum Morton," Mr Baillieu said.
"The VCA is a centre of excellence and a foundation stone of Victoria's wonderful arts and cultural sector and the Coalition Government's funding commitment marks a new chapter in its history.
"Victorians are proud of the VCA and our commitment will help it to continue its role as a source of astounding talent and reach its potential as the leading provider of arts training in Australia.
"This funding package will enable the VCA to strengthen its central role within our arts sector, attracting and retaining outstanding talent for Victoria and increasing career pathways for graduates."