9 May 2012

Open letter to Senator the Hon Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Minister Bob Carr

I write to you about the international impact of changes to the ANU School of Music.

It’s not often that changes at a music school will have international effects, but I think this one does. By its presence in Canberra, the ANU School of Music provides excellent staff and students to the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Duntroon band, events at Parliament House, Government House, the Lodge and at embassies, as well as supporting a range of local musical events and communities.

The proposed changes at the School of Music would remove numerous staff and downgrade the nature and quality of training. The result is that ANU would no longer attract students seeking performance excellence.

The essence of Canberra has long been its vibrant intellectual and cultural life, as well as its role as the centre of government. Canberra represents modern, intelligent, urban Australia as its national capital. It provides a contemporary alternative to Australia’s international stereotypes.

On the eve of Canberra’s centenary, and while all governments promote innovation and creativity as the basis of wealth in the new Century, will Canberra revert to culture-starved and orchestra-free Country Town status? Choices like this determine whether Australia’s reputation is as a vibrant, modern, creative country … or as a sheep dip and coal mine.

Please consider the implications of a culturally diminished national capital for Australia’s international reputation and its immediate reputation with the diplomatic community.

Eric Pozza
9 May 2012

cc Hon Simon Crean, MP, Minister for the Arts
cc Senator the Hon George Brandis, Shadow Minister for the Arts
cc Mr Gary Rake, Chief Executive, National Capital Authority

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