Monday, 25 October 2021

The NFSA finds a champion in Federal Parliament - Zali Steggall asks some pertinent questions - Minister Paul Fletcher has yet to answer

On 18 October, the independent Member for Warringah, Zali Stegall, whom you may remember saw off Tony Abbott into the political twilight, put some massively relevant questions on the House of Representatives Notice Paper.

Here's what's been asked:

*678    MS STEGGALL : To ask the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts—

(1)        In respect of the two vacancies, including the chair, currently on the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) board, will the Minister: (a) ensure that the new appointees satisfy one or more of the following criteria: (i) background in the management of memory institutions, especially audiovisual archives, and their relevant professional disciplines; (ii) academic standing in the history disciplines, especially the history of the screen and sound media; and (iii) active professional connection with the screen and sound industries; and (b) seek an amendment to the National Film and Sound Archive Act 2008 to specify that future appointments to the board should satisfy the above criteria.

(2)        Given that, in real terms, the budget allocation for the NFSA from the Government has declined about 20 per cent over the past decade, and that to restore it to the actual level of a decade ago will require a permanent increase of $6 million per annum in base funding; will the Government commit to such a restoration.

(3)        As the NFSA is required by its Act to work to the ‘highest curatorial standards’, and given that in 2010-11 the NFSA’s approved staffing level (ASL) was 220, while its current ASL is 164, will the Government commit to restoring its ASL back to 2010-11 levels.

(4)        Given that the Government has provided an emergency allocation of $5.5 million over 4 years to enable basic-standard digitisation of at-risk magnetic tape audio and video recordings to be completed before 2025, will the Government apply an additional, ongoing increment of this size to the NFSA’s budget allocation beyond 2025.


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