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Explanatory Second Reading Speech 



in the Legislative Assembly on 
19 March 1981 


Victorian College of the Arts Bill 

Mr LACY (Minister for the Arts)— 
I move: 

That this Bill be read a second time. 

Its purpose is the reconstitution of the 
Victorian College of the Arts so that 
it is better able to provide for the 
preparation of young people to enter 
upon careers as professional artists. It 
also represents a most significant 
development for the Victorian Arts 
Centre, a dimension to which I shall 
return later. 

The Victorian College of the Arts 
was incorporated by order of the Gov- 
ernor in Council in 1972 and affiliated 
as a college of advanced education with 
the Victoria Institute of Colleges in 
1973. The National Gallery Art School 
became the foundation school of the 
college. The school retains strong links 
with the National Gallery of Victoria 
and continues to devote itself exclu- 
sively to the education of professional 
fine artists. 

The School of Music enrolled its first 
students in 1974. Again the purpose 
is to prepare students for professional 
performing careers and a range of 
degree, diploma and post-graduate 
courses are available to instrumental 
players, singers, conductors and other 
specialists. A course specifically for 
opera performers is included. The 
School of Drama has operated since 
1976 and a School of Dance since 1978. 
Also in 1978, the Victorian College of 
the Arts Technical School was estab- 
lished by the Victorian Education 
Department, in close association with 
the tertiary college, expressly to enable 
young musicians and dancers to develop 

advanced skills in those arts while not 
being denied a full secondary education. 
In 1972 when the Government first 
announced the creation of the Victorian 
College of the Arts it referred to its 
intention that along with education in 
art, music, drama and dance there 
should also be a similar provision for 
training in film and television. This in- 
tention stands and its implementation 
is currently under consideration. The 
policy of the college is to enrol in all 
its courses only those students who 
demonstrate the talent and dedication 
essential for courses as practising 
artists and performers. Similarly mem- 
bers of the academic staff including the 
director and the dean of each school 
are themselves accomplished practising 

There is a strong emphasis on public 
participation and on extending arts 
activities into the community. This 
serves the need for performers to learn 
to communicate with audiences but also 
provides a valuable artistic service to 
the community. There are, for ex- 
ample, Victorians in country areas for 
whom the college has provided their 
first experience of a live orchestral 
concert. As another example, com- 
munity theatre companies in the west- 
ern suburbs of Melbourne and in 
Albury-Wodonga, which now operate 
independently with support from the 
Ministry of the Arts, began originally as 
College of the Arts initiatives. 

In 1980, a total of 462 tertiary stu- 
dents were enrolled; 116 in art, 213 in 
music, 86 in drama and 47 in dance. 
Since 1973 there have been 174 gradu- 
ates in fine arts, 83 in music and 49 

in dramatic arts. The first graduates 
in dance will complete their studies in 

As a result of the repeal of the Vic- 
torian Institute of Colleges Act 1955 
it is necessary that those college coun- 
cils constituted by Order in Council 
made under that Act be reconstituted. 
While provision has been made in the 
Post-Secondary Education (Amendment) 
Act 1980, for that purpose, after care- 
ful consideration the Government has 
decided that the educational and artis- 
tic functions of the Victorian College 
of the Arts would be much better 
served if the college were reconstituted 
under a separate statute. The reasons 
for this decision derive from the quite 
distinctive demands and circumstances 
of preparing young artists for profes- 
sional practice. 

The basic concept upon which the 
college is built is that young artists 
intending to enter careers as prac- 
titioners in their various fields are best 
assisted to achieve their ambitions in 
a milieu of continuous artistic activity 
and endeavour of a fully professional 
nature. To the extent that artistic 
education is separated from normal 
professional practice, it is so much the 
less effective. Persons preparing for 
careers as practising artists are much 
better trained if they are regarded and 
assisted as aspiring artists rather than 
students in the conventional sense. 
Other important elements are, firstly 
that intensive training must begin 
around age eleven in music and dance, 
especially the latter, and, secondly, that 
carefully designed programmes are 
necessary after graduation to facilitate 
transition to professional practice. 

These considerations alone lead to the 
conclusion that the Victorian College 
of the Arts as an institution devoted to 
assisting young artists enter upon 
careers in the arts is substantially dif- 
ferent from other educational institu- 
tions. The education activities in which 
it must engage extend well beyond post- 
secondary education and to achieve its 
educational purposes, it must also be 
a centre of artistic activity. While this 
Bill has been framed to enable the 

college to take up and discharge its full 
charter, the college will, nonetheless, 
continue as a college of advanced edu- 
cation in respect of its degree and 
diploma courses within its wider role 
and, therefore, will continue to have 
the same relationship with the Victorian 
Post-Secondary Education Commission 
and the Tertiary Education Commission 
in Canberra as it now has in connec- 
tion with the approval and funding of 
courses and related matters. 

I referred to a second dimension in 
my opening remarks. In addressing it, 
I should like to remind honourable 
members that in my second-reading 
speech on the Victorian Arts Centre 
Bill in 1979, I drew attention to the fact 
that the Arts Centre, the National Gal- 
lery and the college occupy adjacent 
sites. I said then that these circum- 
stances afforded an unparalleled oppor- 
tunity and challenge to present total 
programmes in the arts which should 
encourage creative exchanges between 
the art forms, give inspiration to stu- 
dents of the arts and provide for the 
public an experience which few places 
in the world can match. The Bill repre- 
sents a major step towards giving tan- 
gible effect to the notion I was fore- 
shadowing at the time, that is, the 
establishment of a complex which may 
fairly be described and regarded as the 
greater Victorian Arts Centre. 

The greater Arts Centre concept is 
central to the Government's decision to 
reconstitute the college by separate 
statute as well as to the development 
of the arts in general. It represents a 
simple, readily achievable and highly 
effective means of creating a substan- 
tial milieu of continuous professional 
activity of the highest standards. It also 
has ramifications which extend far be- 
yond the college and its partner institu- 
tions. Its implementation will shape 
and invigorate the arts in many ways 
and lead to a dynamic cultural and 
social facility without peer in Australia. 
Effecting the concept turns on legis- 
lative measures to link the Arts Centre, 
responsible for the presentation of the 
performing arts, the National Gallery 
which is responsible for the visual arts, 
and the college which prepares young 
artists for professional careers in the 

fine and performing arts. The Arts 
Centre and the National Gallery each 
are already constituted under their own 
Acts and this new measure establishes 
by statute the third and final partner. 

Within the greater Arts Centre struc- 
ture, each of the members will be auto- 
nomous in its own sphere to ensure 
preservation of the advantages of 
specialization, expertise and dedicated 
endeavour. At the same time, each will 
exercise its responsibilities within the 
over-arching framework created by the 
close inter-relationships of the various 
aspects of the arts for which each has 
a special responsibility, cross member- 
ship on their governing bodies, and the 
commonality of their interests in the 

In the light of my earlier remarks 
about the education of artists, the bene- 
fits which will accrue to the college are 
self-evident. The college's students will 
be and feel themselves to be participants 
in the much wider artistic environment 
of the greater Arts Centre. Through co- 
operative arrangements they will have 
continuing exposure to and artistic con- 
tact with artists and their works in the 
Arts Centre facilities. The Arts Centre 
will be continuously alive with artistic 
activity because of the presence of the 
college's students. 

The buildings will be transformed into 
vibrant places and by that be so much 
more than venues for scheduled per- 

One particularly exciting outcome 
will be the much enhanced level of inter- 
action between the various arts which 
will follow and will afford opportunities 
for the development of artistic insights 
and fresh forms and modes of 

Substantial benefits will also accrue 
due to consultation in areas such as co- 
ordinated planning and design of capital 
works, expertise and economies of scale 
in the provision of artistic support 
facilities, in the maintenance and 
security of the fabric of the properties, 
in the purchase of supplies, in joint ad- 
ministrative services and in shared use 
of facilities and joint artistic ventures. 
These benefits extend beyond the 
artistic and financial. The three partners 
occupy a continuous complex extending 

in its entirety opposite the gardens 
along St Kilda Road from the main 
southern entrance to the city at Princes 
Bridge to Grant Street. The aesthetic 
planning and social importance of the 
location is very considerable and the 
potential and capacity for realizing a 
visually graceful and culturally lively 
city entrance are profound. 

Before turning to the provisions of 
the Bill itself, there is one other point I 
wish to make. Prior to submitting the \ 
proposal to reconstitute the college by I 
separate statute to the cabinet, I looked I 
carefully at various models for edu- 
cating artists as well as considering ad- 
vice from within the State and the (/ 
experience of the college since it was 
established in 1973 and that of the 
former National Gallery Art School, 
now the college's School of Art, over 
about 100 years. More particularly, I 
studied institutions in which the educa- 
tion of artists takes place in the wider 
context of arts centres and to ensure 
that I had a direct and full appreciation 
of the proposed measure, I visited the 
Lincoln Centre, of which the justly 
celebrated Juilliard School is an element, / 
in New York City. ~J 

There is no doubt that the Lincoln 
Centre and the Juilliard School, like the 
Barbican Centre and the Guildhall 
schools in London, stand in the very 
forefront of the arts and artistic educa- 
tion in the world. Those two 
institutions represent the objectives to 
which the Victorian Government aspires 
and which I am confident will be 
attained. Victoria's own greater Arts 
Centre will number amongst the finest 
centres of arts and artistic education in 
the world and will have profound in- 
fluence for the good on the quality of 
life throughout and beyond this State. 

The Bill establishes the college as an 
autonomous education institution within 
the general operational framework of 
the Victorian Post-Secondary Education 
Commission. By way of a general over- 
view, it provides for a council, which 
will be able to be widely representative 
of interests in the arts to govern and 
manage the college and for a board of 
studies to advise the council on the 
college's educational work. The council 
is empowered to exercise its responsi- 

Mr Lacy 

bilities and to make statutes and regu- 
lations in the same way as all other 
tertiary educational institutions estab- 
lished by separate Acts and to confer 
academic awards. The Government has 
been particularly careful to maintain 
the college's autonomy to ensure that 
the integrity of its programmes and 
awards is unquestionable. Appropriate 
transition provisions have been included 
to protect the interests of staff and to 
maintain continuity. 

I now turn to various provisions in 
some detail. Clause 3 establishes the 
Victorian College of the Arts as a body 
politic and corporate and provides that 
the council shall be the governing 
authority of the college. Clause 4 makes 
provision for a common seal of the 
college and for such to receive appro- 
priate recognition. 

The objects of the college are set out 
in clause 5. It will be seen that the 
college will work solely in the field of 
the arts, is to consult and collaborate 
with the trustees of the Victorian Arts 
Centre and the Council of Trustees of 
the National Gallery of Victoria, is to 
engage in activities for the development, 
conservation and elucidation of the arts 
and to conduct artistic events. Clause 
6 confers the necessary powers of the 
college. Clause 7 specifies the member- 
ship of the council. There are provisions 
for members to be appointed by the 
Governor in Council on the respective 
nominations of the Council of Trustees 
of the National Gallery and the Vic- 
torian Arts Centre Trust, members 
elected by the staff and students, seven 
members appointed by the Governor in 
Council, of whom one shall be a mem- 
ber of the Parliament of Victoria and 
six other members appointed by the 
co-option by the council. The latter two 
categories of appointments would be 
made according to the various areas of 
experience and expertise the council 
needs in its membership to facilitate its 
work. The council has been kept as 
small as possible in the interests of 
efficiency but it is, nonetheless, typical 
in its composition of the governing 
bodies of tertiary educational institu- 

Clauses 8 to 13 are machinery pro- 
visions for the council and clauses 14, 
15 and 16 relate to the election of the 
president and deputy president and their 
roles. Clause 17 requires members of 
the council to declare any pecuniary 
interests on matters under considera- 
tion and disqualifies such members from 
voting on such matters. Clause 18 pro- 
vides for matters before the council to 
be decided by a majority of members 
and stipulates the quorum for meetings 
of the council. Clause 19 provides for 
the council to appoint a director of the 
college on such terms and conditions 
as the council determines and outlines 
the role and responsibilities of the 

Clause 20 empowers the council to 
appoint and terminate appointment of 
any member of the staff of the college. 
The college, like all colleges of advanced 
education, will be subject to the general 
co-ordination of the Victorian Post- 
Secondary Education Commission and 
to the determinations of the Post- 
Secondary Education Remuneration Tri- 
bunal. Clause 21 empowers the college 
to confer awards. Clause 22 provides for 
delegations by the council and clauses 
23 and 24 are standard provisions 
regarding the validity of council pro- 
ceedings and the liability of council 

Clause 25 constitutes the Board of 
Studies whose functions are set out in 
clause 26. Clauses 27 and 28 provide 
for the making, changing and revocation 
of statutes and regulations and I draw 
attention to the role of the Board of 
Studies in connection with statutes and 
regulations relating to educational mat- 
ters in clause 28. Clause 29 provides 
that all fees and all other moneys re- 
ceived by the college shall be applied 
by the council solely for the purposes 
of the college and that they may be 
invested in any matter of investment 
authorized by the council. 

Clause 30 empowers the college to 
borrow moneys with the approval of 
the Treasurer subject to such terms, 
conditions and limitations as the Treas- 
urer imposes. It further provides that 

the Treasurer may with the approval 
of the Governor in Council, guarantee 
the repayment of moneys borrowed by 
the college. Clause 31 makes provision 
for the college to assist members of 
staff to purchase or lease homes for 
their own use. Clause 32 further em- 
powers the college to establish a fund 
for use in assisting members of the 
college in accordance with the statutes. 

Clauses 33 and 34 make provision for 
the acquisition, grant or reservation of 
land by or on behalf of the college and 
the council is empowered to create and 
administer any trust fund or funds in 
conjunction therewith. Clause 35 re- 
quires the council to keep full and com- 
plete books and accounts of all moneys 
received and paid by the college and 
provides for an annual audit of the 
accounts of the college to be made by 
the Auditor-General. Clause 36 requires 
the college to report annually to the 
Parliament. Clauses 37 and 38 are tran- 
sition provisions to ensure continuity 
and protect the interest of staff. 

Since the Government created the 
Victorian College of the Arts in 1973 
on the foundation of the long-established 
National Gallery of Victoria Art School, 
the college has extended to encompass 
education in music, opera, the dramatic 

arts and in dance. Talented young Vic- 
torians have accepted eagerly the op- 
portunities afforded them to realize their 
creative potential and each year sees a 
growing number of the college's stud- 
ents launched into satisfying and pro- 
ductive careers. 

At the same time, the college itself 
has sought to develop both as a centre 
of artistic activities and as an agency 
for promoting interest and participation 
in the arts throughout the community. 
It has actively been encouraged in these 
endeavours by the Ministry for the Arts, 
which identifies the college's role as 
fundamental to the Government's arts 
policies. This legislation, which will be 
the administrative responsibility of the 
Minister for the Arts, will allow further 
opportunities and incentives for co- 
ordinated operations and it is the Gov- 
ernment's intention, as means afforded, 
further to assist the college to achieve 
in full measure those objectives which 
have been framed for it. I commend 
the Bill to the House. 

On the motion of Mr CATHIE (Car- 
rum), the debate was adjourned. 

It was ordered that the debate 
adjourned until Thursday, April 2. 

Mr Lacy 


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