Letter about ANAM to Kate Ellis

November 16, 2008 § 1 Comment

Dear Kate

I am writing to you as a concerned onlooker in the saga of ANAM which involves the cream of Australia’s young classical musicians.

I thought in your capacity as Minister for Youth, you might be able share my concerns with your colleague, Minister Garrett about this affair.

My concerns are primarily focussed around the uncertainty and worry, both financial and vocational, that this is causing the students at ANAM.  Their energies are currently spent wondering what will become of them while an alternative decision is examined, and indeed whether this decision will provide a better training ground than the existing model.

As a tutor at this year’s National Music Camp in Canberra, I was struck by the intense passion and commitment the young people there showed to their art.  At ANAM, this is even more intense and a vital stepping stone on the road to a career in this highly competitive industry.  ANAM sets up inter-generational dialogue and training for the musicians of tomorrow.  We classical musos are like a family who are concerned about their fledgling musicians and want to see the best outcomes for them.

I am currently not terribly confident in the handling of this affair and feel that Minister Garrett was always looking for reasons to close ANAM rather than reasons to keep it open.  I am also concerned that its closure occurred without other options in place.  Surely a successful alternative to this institution would require considerably more time than the month or so before next year’s recommencement of tuition.

On behalf of my future colleagues I implore you to press Minister Garrett to reconsider his decision to close ANAM, until such time as plans for a successful alternative can be discussed and debated among its stakeholders.

Yours sincerely

Alex Millier
Principal Bass Clarinet
WA Symphony Orchestra

Further correspondence with the Minister for Youth follows….

Dear Pauline,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

Unfortunately it is identical to the letter I’ve received recently from Minister Tanner, and one my colleague received from Minister Garrett.

Obviously this “form letter” indicates the Federal Government’s belief that they have “made the correct decision.”

Did Minister Ellis actually read my letter to her?  My concerns about the students’ welfare were sincere and I must admit to feeling that such a formulaic response from her office is really not a reflection that she shares my concerns for our young classical musicians’ welfare.

I enclose a letter from one of them.

Should she choose to take time from her busy schedule to read it, I’m sure she’ll be very moved by its contents.

Yours sincerely

Alex Millier
Principal Bass Clarinet
WA Symphony Orchestra.

On 17/11/08 9:52 AM, “Cusack, Pauline (K. Ellis, MP)” <Pauline.Cusack@aph.gov.au> wrote:

> Dear Alex
>
> Thank you for your email concerning the ANAM.
>
> Minister Garrett has advised that the Australian Government remains committed
> to the provision of elite-level classical music training in Australia.
>
> It is the view of the Government however, that ANAM can no longer be
> considered the most effective or efficient means of delivering classical music
> training which bridges the gap between tertiary studies and professional
> practice.
>
> Over a period of six months the Minister for the Arts, Hon Peter Garrett, MP
> sought from the ANAM, an assurance that they would implement a number of
> critical reforms to improve governance and operational arrangements.
>
> Unfortunately, ANAM were unable to satisfactorily address these concerns.
>
> As a result, the Government believes that the funding previously provided to
> ANAM could be spent more effectively to deliver support for emerging classical
> musicians.
>
> On Friday 31 October, the Minister met with a number of representatives from
> the sector, including a delegation of ANAM students, and reiterated the
> Government’s determination to provide ongoing funding for our talented
> musicians.
>
> The Government is now investigating possible models for the most effective
> delivery of elite-level classical music training in Australia and expects to
> announce an alternative shortly which will ensure continuity for students and
> provide a stable, long-term program for music training.
>
> I hope this information helps to clarify the Government’s position on this
> matter.

>
> Kind regards
>
> Pauline Cusack
> Office of  Kate Ellis MP
> Federal Member for Adelaide
> 161a Main North Road
> Nailsworth SA  5083
> T: (08) 8269 2433
> F: (08) 8269 2488
> E: pauline.cusack@aph.gov.au
> http://www.kateellis.com.au



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§ One Response to Letter about ANAM to Kate Ellis

  • Jim Breen says:

    The following from Nick Bailey at ANAM demonstrates
    the gross inaccuracy of the “form” response:

    From: Nick Bailey
    Date: Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 11:57 PM
    Subject: Government’s response

    Hi,

    I gather that the Government is issuing a standard response to those members of the public who are writing complaining about the Academy’s closure.

    If you, or anyone you know of, has received one of these “form letter” responses from the Minister or your local member, with the following text:

    > It is the view of the Government however that > ANAM can no longer be
    > considered the most effective or efficient means
    > of delivering classical
    > music training which bridges the gap between
    > tertiary studies and professional practice.

    > Over a period of six months, the Government sought > from ANAM an assurance
    > they would implement a number of critical reforms > to improve governance and
    > operational arrangements.

    > Unfortunately ANAM were unable to satisfactorily
    > address these concerns.

    Can I urge you to contact the letter’s signatory requesting clarification of this, and state – that to your knowledge – the dates of correspondence are as follows:

    * 25 August – Letter advising funding agreement and 9 new conditions received, giving the Academy until 31 October to respond to the 9 new conditions;
    * 3 October: The Board’s response,
    * 22 October – Fax from the minister, advising of defunding of Acdemy

    i.e. The Academy only had 9 weeks to respond – not 26, as the Government letter states – and in fact was advised of Minister’s decision to close the Academy before the Government’s time frame had elapsed.

    Nick

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