Unesco City Of Music (Question Time)

In Parliament, Questions

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:55): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Attorney-General, representing the Minister for Arts, a question about Adelaide’s status as a UNESCO City of Music.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: When it comes to music, Adelaide has a long, proud history. Back in 1883, Adelaide was the first Australian city, post colonisation, to establish a tertiary music institution—that’s 139 years ago. In 1973, Adelaide became home to Australia’s first major arts centre complex, the much-loved and now less leaky Adelaide Festival Centre. Adelaide hosts world-class music events like WOMADelaide, the Cabaret Festival, the Adelaide Guitar Festival and will this year yet again host the AIR awards, recognising achievement and success in Australia’s independent recording industry.

As a result of this rich musical cultural heritage and vibrant music scene, Adelaide was rightly designated as Australia’s first and still only UNESCO City of Music back in 2015. UNESCO cities of music have certain characteristics. The designated city is a centre of music creation and activity, and a UNESCO City of Music celebrates music in all of its forms.

Adelaide has much to celebrate. We can now visit No Fixed Address laneway, just off Rundle Mall, or wander Paul Kelly Lane, which is lit with ‘love, love, love’ as you take a shortcut from Pirie through to Flinders, while Sia Furler Lane now sits near the Jam Factory, not far from Hindley Street west where she used to perform regularly in the 1990s at the now demolished and dearly missed Cargo Club. Those laneways pay homage to the fabulous musicians that our city has fostered in the past, but my hope is to ensure that we continue to provide substantive support for music and musicians in the present, in the here and now.

To do that we need more. We need a modern, purpose-built and accessible Adelaide concert hall. We are the only capital city without one. That concert hall should meet the needs of performers and punters. With great acoustics, the right tech, good sightlines and comfortable seats, it needs to be accessible for everyone in our community to enjoy the performances. The lack of this concert hall puts a question mark over our commitment to truly being a UNESCO City of Music.

A concert hall of course, with perhaps the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as the anchor tenant and the Adelaide Chamber Singers, the Adelaide Youth Voices, the Artaria ensemble, the Seraphim Trio and Adelaide Baroque also likely to use that facility, would be ‘much more than just a high-quality auditorium for classical and orchestral music’, it would also provide the desperately missing and long-needed home for music education and community services to our city of music. My question to the minister is: how can Adelaide legitimately call itself a UNESCO City of Music when we have no appropriate concert hall?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:58): I thank the honourable member for her question and acknowledge her, I think, very well-known support and very enthusiastic attendance at local music events and support of local artists. I might say the only blemish I can think of on the honourable member’s support of local music is her shameful and longstanding association with the Anchors Reclink football team against the Rockatoos. However, that having been said, I will be happy to pass that question on to the minister in another place and bring back a reply for the honourable member.