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2016 Lorne Sculpture Biennale The Mantra Lorne

E & OE

Well thanks so much Peter. Could I acknowledge Her Excellency, the Governor and also Judge Howard. Every significant occasion in our State is always enhanced by your presence, so thank you very much. My State counterpart Martin Foley, who I had the great pleasure of working with in disability and continue to enjoy the opportunity in this portfolio.

The ceaseless Sarah Henderson. Sarah, wonderful to see you. Richard Riordan, my State colleague, who's only been in parliament a little while, but he's doing a cracking job. It's great to see you mate. My counterpart from across the aisle in Federal Parliament, Mark Dreyfus. It's always good to join with him. The Surf Coast Mayor, Rose Hodge. Former Premier, Steve Bracks. And Peter Lamell – Peter, you really should take a bow. You are the leader, the inspiration, the guide, the counsel, for so many in this great venture. And through you Peter, can I also acknowledge the members of your committee, who put their passion and their all into this wonderful event. Julie Collins, the Curator, your last exercise as curator. Congratulations to you for all that you've done, not just in this year but in previous years.

We also have some representatives of important cultural institutions with us today. Fiona Menzies, the Chief Executive of Creative Partnerships Australia, and the great Tony Elwood, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria. I think we were going to be joined by my colleague Josh Frydenberg. I'm not sure if it's because his parents have a place down here, or because this is the second best place for him to catch up with his constituents from Kooyong.

Ladies and gentlemen, today is a wonderful celebration of a community-inspired and initiated event. It was the Lorne community who recognised there is an intrinsic value to art, which they were able to embrace. The local community recognised that there is a tremendous capacity for the arts to enrich the local community. But that also an event like this provides an opportunity to share art with the wider Victorian and national community through tourism. And it has been a tremendous boon for the local area.

At a point in a speech like this from a federal minister, you usually expect him or her to mention the dollar contribution that the Commonwealth has made. But I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to do that for a couple of reasons. One, because it can give the misleading impression that somehow it's government money that has been benevolently bestowed by the Government on a particular venture. It's not. It's yours, which you render in taxation. The Government's role is merely to be a conduit to direct it to some really good purposes. The second reason I'm not going to mention a dollar figure is because nothing should take away or detract from the contributions that are made both financially, but also through time, love, and effort to this Biennale of the people here. It is wonderful because of what you do and nothing should detract from that.

Can I say, I think an event such as this is even more important than ever before. Our lives are ever more pressured. Our working lives are ever more intense. We have less and less opportunity to pause and reflect on those things that are good, that are beautiful, that make us feel. And this Biennale gives us all that opportunity to pause, to reflect on what is great, what is wonderful, and what is beautiful. So to the artists, to the sculptors, can I say to all of you, thank you so much for contributing to this event, thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to feel, to wonder, and to ponder. Thank you very much.

Media contact: Justine Sywak | 0448 448 487 | Justine.sywak [at] communications.gov.au ()