Yes to a new arts minister and new roles at Arts NSW

A New Minister in NSW

Don Harwin MLC, a career politician representing the Liberal Party in the NSW Upper House, was yesterday appointed as Minister for the Arts (in addition to two other portfolios, Resources, and Energy & Utilities) by the new Premier, Gladys Berejiklian.

The Hon. Don Harwin MP – New Arts Minister

Described as an influential player in the party’s moderate faction, Harwin is a writer of political history and has an interest in Cultural History, Psephology, Film and Rugby League. More information can be found at Parliament of NSW website. Some of his Cultural history experience includes:

“Enhancing the visitor experience at Parliament House through a number of initiatives including an exhibition program in the Fountain Court. Exhibitions have included: “Understated” (featuring art works and photographs from the NSW Parliament’s collection), “Twenty Five: Stories from Australia’s First Parliament” and “Politics and Sacrifice: the NSW Parliament and the ANZACs”. Established the NSW Parliament Landscape Photography Prize as part of the “Head On” Photo Festival.  Previous experience as Project Manager for the Museum of Immigration Project Feasibility Study on behalf of the Ethnic Affairs Commission(now Multicultural NSW) . Subsequently, the Feasibility Study report led to the establishment of the Multicultural Heritage Centre at the Powerhouse Museum.”

He replaces former Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, the Member for Dubbo. During Grant’s tenure as Arts Minister he took a keen interest in the regional arts sector, and also played a valuable role in developing a whole of government approach to the arts, including cooperation between the arts and health ministries. He also helped progress the Walsh Bay redevelopment, including a permanent home for Bell Shakespeare.

Harwin has served as President of the Legislative Council since 2011, in which role he allowed a motion describing Donald Trump as a ‘revolting slug’, having ruled that such language was not unparliamentary.

In 2014 Harwin announced he was gay in a speech to the NSW Legislative Council.

New roles at Arts NSW/Create NSW

In the current restructure at Arts NSW four senior appointments have been confirmed:

Chief Executive – Michael Brealey

Director, Strategic Policy, Research & Projects – Tarek Barakat

Director, Engagement, Partnerships & Development – Grainne Brunsdon

Director, Sector Investment – Sophia Zachariou

Arts NSW is the NSW government’s arts and culture policy and investment body and Screen NSWfunds and promotes the movie industry in NSW. Arts NSW had a grant allocation of $51.8 million in 2015-16 financial year and employed 51 full-time equivalent roles, while Screen NSW had a $10 million budget and 17 full-time equivalent roles.

The new arts and culture agency, given the working title Create NSW, informed by the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee NSW and due to be created within the Department of Justice in early 2017 may be revised by the new arts Minister.

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