Stars of the blockbuster Australian film The Sapphires have joined Arts Minister Simon Crean and Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Minister Julie Collins to launch a new work and training program that will create jobs for Indigenous Australians.
Mr Crean and Ms Collins today joined stars Jessica Mauboy and Deborah Mailman at the Parliament House theatre to announce details of Screen Australia’s two year Media RING Indigenous Employment Strategy.
The $1.1 million work and training program will create 40 new jobs for Indigenous Australians in sectors including newspapers, new media, film and television.
Mr Crean said The Sapphires was a great example of the incredible Indigenous screen talent in Australia, but more needed to be done to strengthen Indigenous representation in the media sector.
“The new employment program will help train and guide a new generation of Indigenous media professionals, whether they are on screen or in the media,” Mr Crean said.
“Australia is home to the oldest living culture on earth, but it is producing some of the most exciting new art forms on the planet.
“By investing to create new Indigenous employment opportunities in the media and screen industries, we’re not only diversifying workplaces, but investing in protecting and sharing our culture with many generations to come.
“This program also reflects the development of our National Cultural Policy, which will be released later this year.”
Ms Collins said Screen Australia received funding through the Government’s $650 million Indigenous Employment Program to run the employment strategy.
“The initiative will create more diverse workplaces that will reflect and help share Australia’s rich Indigenous heritage,” Ms Collins said.
“The talent is there – but what has been missing has been a large enough core of Indigenous people trained to work in the media industries.
“With the announcement of this program, there is now a focus on investing in Indigenous employment opportunities across all sectors of the media industry.
“A review last year recommended establishing an Indigenous employment strategy for the industry and the Australian Government has worked with Media RING and its members to make this strategy a reality.
“It is through strong partnerships like this one with Media RING that we will help to close the gap,” Ms Collins said.
Media RING is made up of more than 40 broadcasters, government media agencies, Indigenous organisations, trade associations, media buyers and newspaper groups. Current members include the ABC, SBS, Foxtel and News Limited.
Chair of Media RING, Susanne Larson, said the strength of the strategy is signified by the diverse opportunities on offer – from film and television to newspapers and new media.
“The strategy will include tailored training for each individual, and will look at the long-term growth of the sector beginning in schools and including workplace culture and mentoring.”
The Sapphires is a film inspired by the true story of an all-girl Aboriginal group sent to Vietnam in the heady days of 1968 to entertain the troops.
Mr Crean congratulated the filmmakers and cast of The Sapphires for their box office success in Australia and overseas.
“I congratulate the film’s director Wayne Blair, producer Rosemary Blight, writers Tony Briggs and Keith Thompson and the stars on the acclaim the film has received not only in Australia, but at the Cannes International Film Festival,” he said.
“I was pleased to hear the recent news that The Sapphires will also screen at the Toronto International Film Festival.”
Erica Glynn, Head of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department said Screen Australia is a very committed and active player in creating talent development opportunities for Indigenous people.
“This initiative will contribute to creating an Indigenous labour force that paves the way for a sustainable media industry inclusive of Indigenous Australians. We are pleased to be partnering with Media RING to administer this important program,” Ms Glynn said.
Further information is available at: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/documents/SA_publications/Backgrounder...
Screen Australia’s 2012 Indigenous reel is available for broadcast use upon request.
To view the clip visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ-iT9RwvZY&feature=vmdshb