Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Port Macquarie to host Saltwater Freshwater festival

A festival showcasing Indigenous design, art, music and cuisine will today transform Port Macquarie into a colourful cultural hub with the help of Australian Government funding of $113,500.

The Saltwater Freshwater festival, which celebrates Indigenous culture on Australia Day, is now in its second year following a very successful inaugural event in 2010.

The Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said the festival will bring together people from across the north coast of New South Wales, uniting inland ‘freshwater’ communities with coastal ‘saltwater’ ones.

Festival highlights include workshops on weaving, dance and art, food and craft stalls, as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous musicians including Troy Cassar-Daley, Street Warriors, Neil Murray and Shellie Morris.

“Australia Day is a time for us to celebrate living in our country and this festival is a great chance for people to embrace Indigenous culture,” Ms Macklin said.

“The Australian Government is proud to lend its support to such an important cultural festival.”

To help safeguard the future of the festival, a new Indigenous organisation, the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance Aboriginal Corporation, was formed in June 2010.

The Alliance is a partner of the Many Rivers Regional Partnership Agreement, which aims to reduce Indigenous unemployment in the region.

“The Australian Government has committed $1.2 million over three years to the Agreement since it was signed in Port Macquarie in August 2009.

“As well as supporting the festival, the Australian Government will fund a number of projects being organised by the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance Aboriginal Corporation,” Ms Macklin said.

These include a course in traditional canoe building for young Indigenous people, and a recording of local Indigenous legends and dreamtime stories to be launched at next year’s festival.

Further information on the Saltwater Freshwater Festival is available on the Festival website