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Executive Council)
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)
March 28, 2006

Government invests in promotion and preservation of province�s culture

The promotion and preservation of Newfoundland and Labrador�s rich culture and heritage is an important part of the future prosperity of the province. In order to strategically plan for the future of our cultural sector, Premier Danny Williams today announced an investment of $17.6 million over the next three years to implement the province�s first cultural plan. Premier Williams was joined at the announcement at the LSPU Hall by Tom Hedderson, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, and members of the cultural community.

Entitled Creative Newfoundland and Labrador: The Blueprint for Developing and Investing in Culture, the plan outlines major policies and directions to preserve, support and develop our province�s rich cultural resources.

"This is a significant framework designed to encourage and champion the continued success and growth of our professional artists and cultural industries," said Premier Williams. "Culture is central to our social and economic success, and it is at the heart of our identity. This is why our government has invested so heavily in our cultural community. We want to support the industry and those who have dedicated their lives to the industry and we are very proud of this new cultural plan."

Budget 2006 allocates $8.5 million this year to launch Creative Newfoundland and Labrador. This represents $6.3 million in new investment and $2.2 million continued investment in the film and music industries. Key areas include: support for professional artists; support for cultural industries; preserving and celebrating heritage; and strengthening key cultural infrastructure.

"Culture is fundamental to our quality of life, our distinctive identity and our confidence as people," said Premier Williams. "This will help to ensure that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, now and in the future, benefit from and celebrate our rich cultural legacy."

"Culture is not only a celebration of our history, our lives and our accomplishments but it is very important to our economy and cultural tourism," added Minister Tom Hedderson. "This plan commits to creating conditions to foster creativity in order to keep our skilled and creative talent working in this province. I wish to thank the invaluable contribution of the arts and heritage community in developing this plan, specifically the Association of Cultural Industries and the Association of Heritage Industries."

Industry stakeholders applauded the launch of the cultural plan today, calling it an important step forward for cultural development in the province.

"This is a great day for the arts in Newfoundland and Labrador," said John Doyle, chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. "This is concrete proof that the Williams administration is serious about its commitment to culture and arts."

"It is wonderful to see that this government recognizes how much we have invested in this province and now they are ready to invest in us," said Donna Butt of the Association of Cultural Industries. "It�s a moving and emotional moment for me, someone who has spent a lifetime in this business to see that this government gets it."

"The most compelling aspect of this document is that it defines the value of culture broadly," added David Bradley, president of the Association of Heritage Industries. "Cultural tourism is important but when culture is considered in the broader context, it has far greater implications for social and economic development."

Investment Highlights:

Support for Artists: Government will provide $675,000 under Budget 2006 in support of professional artists and the creative process through various programs, including an additional $300,000 in 2006 for the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. This funding will allow the arts council to expand upon its existing grant programs and develop new programs for artists and arts organizations. Government will provide increased investment in the arts council, doubling its existing budget within three years to $1.8 million.

Support for Cultural Industries: No area of opportunity for business growth is more exciting than our province�s cultural sector. Our cultural industries currently employ 4,200 people throughout the province and generate $289 million to the local economy annually. Budget 2006 invests over $3 million to develop our cultural industries, including the fields of music, publishing, film and video and export development.

Preserving, Strengthening and Celebrating our Heritage: Government will commit $760,000 this year to help fund heritage organizations, community museums and archives, as well for research and development in the heritage sector. This includes $300,000, doubling last year�s budget, in core funding for heritage sites and community museums and archives. It also includes the development of a heritage framework, a cultural tourism strategy and expanded archaeology programs.

Strengthening Key Cultural Infrastructure: Government will invest a total of $3.8 million in 2006 to improve and revitalize the province�s arts and culture centres, provincial historic sites, regional museums, and other cultural institutions. This includes $500,000 to renovate and expand the LSPU Hall. The renovations will make the space much more functional for community use.

Creative Newfoundland and Labrador: The Blueprint for Developing and Investing in Culture, can be found at // Thoughts, feedback and suggestions on the plan can be sent to or call toll free 1-888-520-2244.

Further details on the strategic cultural plan will be released under Budget 2006 and in the coming weeks.

Media contact:

Elizabeth Matthews, Office of the Premier, (709) 729-3960, 690-5500
Susanne Hiller, Tourism, Culture and Recreation (709)-729-0928, 728-7762

2006 03 28                                            11:30 a.m.

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