Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New funding for Saltwater Freshwater Festival

An extra $113,500 from the Australian Government will help support the Saltwater Freshwater Festival to be held in Port Macquarie next year.

The Federal Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today announced the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance Aboriginal Corporation will use the funding to run next year’s festival and other projects associated with it.

During a visit to Port Macquarie Ms Macklin met with representatives from the Alliance, who are working under the Many Rivers Regional Partnership Agreement to develop sustainable employment opportunities for Aboriginal people in creative arts and cultural tourism.

The Saltwater Freshwater festival will showcase Indigenous design, art, music and food and will be held in Port Macquarie next Australia Day following the success of the inaugural event earlier this year.

This year’s festival, held at Coffs Harbour, attracted around 12,000 visitors – more than double the number organisers initially expected. The program included performances by Archie Roach and Troy Cassar-Daley, bush tucker sampling with Mark Flanders and a chance to groove with the Jumbaal Dreamin Dance Band.

“Next year’s festival promises to be another great event and I’m pleased to announce the Australian Government is showing its support with $113,500 to help fund the festival,” Ms Macklin said.

“Australia Day is a great time for all Australians to celebrate living in our beautiful country, and the Saltwater Freshwater festival is a fantastic opportunity for people from across the region to embrace the local Aboriginal culture.”

As part of the $113,500 the Australian Government is providing:

  • $40,000 to help run the festival;
  • $9,500 to help local Aboriginal artists and craftspeople to get accredited to be vendors at the festival;
  • $50,000 for a project to record local Aboriginal legends and dreamtime stories to be launched at the 2012 festival. The project will feature local elders from each language group to ensure their stories can be shared with future generations; and
  • $14,000 will be used to run a canoe building project for young Aboriginal people. A trainer and Aboriginal mentor will be employed to teach young people how to build traditional canoes, which were an important part of traditional Aboriginal society on the mid-north coast.