The Ballarat International Foto Biennale – Ministerial Response

Scroll down for the Minister’s response, or click here to discover more about how we’re working for Wendouree.

Original adjournment matter from Juliana Addison MP to Parliament –

I direct my adjournment matter to the Minister for Creative Industries, and the action that I seek is for him to visit my electorate of Wendouree to meet with the Ballarat International Foto Biennale artistic director, Fiona Sweet, and members of the board to discuss the 2021 Biennale.

The impact of COVID has been very significant on our creative industries, not just in Melbourne but in regional Victoria, including in my community of Ballarat. The 2021 Ballarat International Foto Biennale will provide an excellent opportunity for Victorians to visit Ballarat and the wider region and will provide a significant boost for the local economy.

The 2019 Ballarat International Foto Biennale and was a huge success, boasting over 37 800 visitors-an increase of more than 10 000 visitors from the 2017 Biennale. Significantly, it contributed $7.27 million of direct economic impact to Ballarat over the two months from August to October 2019. The 2019 Biennale involved more than 150 artists, with over 190 core and open program exhibitions and events.

Importantly, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale aims to be accessible all, with free entry for 99 per cent of events in 2019 and with 135 volunteers throughout the Biennale who provided an invaluable contribution to the festival. I am really looking forward to welcoming the Minister for Creative Industries to Ballarat and the 2021 Ballarat International Foto Biennale, which opens on 27 August next year.


Response from the Hon. Danny Pearson MP, Minister for Creative Industries (14th December 2020) –

I will be pleased to visit the electorate of Wendouree at my earliest opportunity to meet with Fiona Sweet, Director and the board of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale to discuss the 2021 Biennale.

As Minister for the Creative Industries it is my pleasure to report that the Biennale has recently received two tranches of support from Creative Victoria’s Strategic Investment Fund to immediately assist with the impacts of the coronavirus: an initial grant of $34,000 and a second grant of $80,000. The second grant will provide training, equipment and specialist support for biennale staff to put in place the necessary coronavirus safety requirements. This is to ensure a successful 2021 festival, that is safe for the community and for the many visitors that will come from across Victoria.

Most exciting is that the Andrews Government recently announced its support for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale to establish a National Centre for Photography in Ballarat. This will attract visitors, support jobs and strengthen the city’s standing as a leading cultural hub.

The Victorian Government has invested $6.7 million to create the new centre, which will sit proudly alongside the Ballarat Art Gallery and the Post Office Gallery in what is becoming an iconic arts precinct for the region.

I look forward to meeting with festival representatives soon to learn more about the 2021 festival and its plans for the new National Centre for Photography.