Topics: Australian Heritage Strategy, Sydney Opera House Welcome Centre
I'm delighted to be here with Louise and it's a real honour to be able to open the Welcome Centre here at the Sydney Opera House.
The Opera House is one of the world's great icons. It's a great cultural centre and it's one of the world's great buildings.
It's on the world heritage list for a reason, and people all around the world know and recognise this building.
The fact that it is a living building and continuing to evolve is a tribute to everybody involved with the Opera House.
The Welcome Centre is just the first stage of increasing the information and the attraction for people from Sydney, from around Australia, and from around the world.
At the same time, I am also thrilled to have been able to launch the Australian Heritage Strategy.
It's about national leadership, it's about partnerships, and it's about community.
In particular, the most innovative idea is a national heritage lottery.
We will work with states and territories, with heritage groups, and with the community to consider it.
This building was in large part built from the funds of a Sydney Opera House lottery.
It's a system which is working in the United Kingdom, it has enormous history right here at the Opera House, and it's a way of providing deeper, permanent funds to help Australia's heritage community and our buildings over the coming decades and centuries. Louise?
Thank you so much. We're delighted to have opened the Welcome Centre today.
It's a real demonstration of our decade of renewal which was launched at our 40th birthday two years ago.
We want to renew the Opera House for the next generation of arts, audiences and visitors so that on our 50th birthday we're absolutely ready with the 20th century's greatest building for the 21st century visitors.
Okay, happy to take any questions.
Minister, how do you see this lottery working? Is it a Lotto type of thing, scratchies – what do you envision?
Look, I will leave the experts on that to develop the idea, but essentially some form of contemporary lottery, drawn on a periodic basis, whether it's every week or fortnight or month, that will depend on the advice that we have.
But what we want to do is to create a lottery which gives people the opportunity to do what they're doing in the UK, to do what they did to the area of the Sydney Opera House, to give themselves a chance at a future, but at the same time knowing that the likelihood is that they are contributing to our great national heritage icons.
Do you see a problem here in New South Wales – the State Government sold off for about $1 billion lottery rights to tax. Is that going to be an issue?
Look, we'll work very carefully with the states and the private sector.
Those are legitimate questions, and we will take our time. But if we can establish something which replicates the UK National Heritage Lottery then I think we will have left a legacy through this strategy, and not just for decades or generations but potentially for coming centuries.
Is this just about governments outsourcing responsibility for funding of things that they already should be taking care of?
No, it's in addition to what we already do. So we've just allocated in the last few days $58 million to the Great Barrier Reef – we’re reducing sediment and nitrogen and nutrients.
We've contributed to the Welcome Centre here. So this is in addition to the ordinary operations of government.
We think that it's possible to go further, to add to the lustre of our national heritage icons.
Will the lottery be only to support heritage activities, or would it be for social and art activities as it is in Britain?
Look it could well, add the arts and culture. Heritage is the driving motivation, but we're open to that.
So it'll be a genuine conversation with the states and with the heritage community, and we'd be delighted to talk with the arts and culture community.
You're confident there wouldn't be any reduction in federal funding in the years going forward if this lottery is established?
No. This is about maintaining existing federal programs, but adding a new source of funding.
That's the only way in which I'm interested, if this is in addition to and on top of existing federal heritage funding.
How have the states reacted to the Federal Government entering its financial [indistinct], in the sense of you know, a national lottery, given the fact that the state-based lotteries are a major revenue raiser for state governments?
Well I don't see this as competing with those. And we'll have a very open and constructive discussion with them.
This, of course, we'd add to support for assets which are primarily state assets.
So it would be additional funding for state and community assets, and I can only see that that would be a good thing.
Alright, thank you very much.