Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Sing Australia reaches out to drought stricken communities

Sing Australia is to receive more than $446,000 in Australian Government funding to expand its network of choirs in rural and regional areas, especially targeting drought-affected areas.

The Connecting Australians in Singing project sets up community choirs to encourage people to get involved in community life and to experience the fun of singing in groups.

Through this new funding, Sing Australia will continue to support the existing 100 choirs it has set up since the start of 2007.

With more than 3000 members, Sing Australia choirs perform at hundreds of community events throughout Australia, as well as travelling overseas. Sing Australia has travelled to Gallipoli to sing at the Lone Pine memorial service, to the International Peace Forum in Vancouver, Canada and this year will perform during two separate tours to Europe.

Sing Australia’s two-year plan is to establish up to 80 new choirs around Australia, breaking new ground in Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, as well as expanding its base in New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT and South Australia.

It will travel especially to drought-affected areas, where Australian farming families and people in small rural towns are doing it tough.

The pressures on rural families are immense-the financial difficulties due to the drought, stock loss and the relentless mental and physical demands of farming.

This project will supplement the already considerable help the Australian Government is giving to people who live and work in drought-affected areas.

We hope that by joining a choir, farmers and people working in rural towns can connect with one another through singing together.

Ultimately, Sing Australia’s choirs will be self-supporting. The choirs will be given their song books and CDs and then will be encouraged to seek local community business support.

Already local business have shown interest-for example, the Rotary Club and Floriade of Canberra helped bring the NSW and Victorian choirs to Canberra in September last year.

Groups can also apply to local government for assistance, such as offering free hire of venues or grants to buy a keyboard.