Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair

I acknowledge traditional owners of the land that we’re on and elders, past and present, and I’m very proud to be here as a member of the Albanese Government with a commitment to responding with the same level of generosity that the Uluru Statement of the Heart extended to the rest of Australia when we get to the referendum later this year.

Francois, thank you for the briefing you gave me yesterday and for the opportunity to be here today. I really wanted to be here today for a simple reason - this festival is of national importance and if you look at the cultural policy that we released only a few months ago. This festival ticks every single box. Revive, Australia's cultural policy, goes through five pillars. First Nations first, a place for every story, the centrality of the artist, the need to have strong cultural infrastructure, and finally, making sure that we're engaging the audience. This does a lot and does it through a range of art forms.

I'm really excited not only about what's being planned for visual art, but what's being planned for fashion, for dance, for spoken word, for music. I've always had this interest and I'm pleased with the activation spaces that this is going to happen, this concept of exposing people to art, bringing them in to new aspects of culture when they didn't even know they were attending something officially simply by walking through the street and having an artistic experience, just because you were here, just because you were in Cairns at the right time of year.

I am now at an internal war with my office, trying to reorganise my diary because let them try to stop me from getting back in, and so we're seeing what we can do. When you've just gone through the list can I give a particular shout out to Spinifex Gum. I've seen them perform live twice in just the last six months at both Bluesfest and the Wooden Boat Festival. It is an extraordinary - an extraordinary group of artists there. In movement, in the words that are sung, in the beauty of the singing and the dance, but also just the strength of the attitude. When you watch a Spinifex Gum performance, you are watching strong young women and I'm really excited when I heard the lineup, I was really excited that Spinifex Gum would be performing here as well.

For all of that, basically, I just wanted to be here to lend the official support of the Government of Australia, that the Albanese Labor Government knows that culture is not something to be apologised for, it's something to be welcomed. It determines the extent to which we see ourselves, how we learn about each other and how the rest of the world knows us and in a few months' time, all eyes of Cairns, of Australia and plenty of eyes from around the world are going to be right here in Cairns.

It'll be the place to be. It'll be the place to be for people who know exactly what they're coming to see. And at something like the Cairns Indigenous Arts Festival, the wonderful thing is, no matter what you came thinking you were going to see, you always leave with more. That's everything that we're hoping to be able to achieve with Revive, and it's why I'm so proud to be able to lend my support today.