Media Releases


May 12, 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $9 million to complete the redevelopment of Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide and support new initiatives as part of the iconic WOMADelaide Festival.
This election is a choice between Labor’s support for the arts, Australian artists and live music or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under Scott Morrison and the Liberals.
Labor will provide $3 million to complete the redevelopment of Her Majesty’s Theatre, started by the former State Labor Government with the provision of more than $61 million in 2017.
The federal funding will see the top-floor boardroom and roof terrace reopened as a gallery and exhibition space overlooking Grote Street, which will be dedicated to the colourful history of ‘the Maj’ and the story of arts and entertainment in Australia.
The gallery will be open during the day, and accessible separately to the theatre, adding to the growing number of attractions in the Central Market and Chinatown precinct, and will feature a bar and facilities to enable it to be used for opening events, fundraising activities and other occasions.
Senator Don Farrell said South Australia was the Festival State and the home of the arts in Australia, and that both Her Majesty’s Theatre and WOMADelaide were iconic parts of the State’s cultural heritage.
“Labor has backed the redevelopment of the Maj from the word go and the former Labor State Government supported WOMADelaide to expand and become an annual Festival,” Senator Farrell said.
“This Federal Labor support will crown the redevelopment with an exciting and innovative re-purposing of the top floor and terrace, and will strengthen WOMADelaide’s reputation as one of Australia’s and the world’s best music festivals.”
A Shorten Labor Government will also provide $6 million to support WOMADelaide to grow its world-class festival program, develop a ‘WOMAD Academy’, and reduce its environmental footprint.
The Academy will see established, high-profile WOMADelaide performers mentor emerging Australian artists from diverse backgrounds including remote Indigenous communities, new migrant communities, and rural and remote areas across Australia. It will also provide career opportunities through skills training in areas including staging, lighting and sound management.
Labor Candidate for Boothby, Nadia Clancy, said WOMADelaide would also use the global WOMAD network to provide opportunities for selected Academy participants to tour internationally.
“There are already some amazing artists including Felix Riebl (The Cat Empire) and John Butler (John Butler Trio) who have expressed support for the program and are being considered for mentoring positions,” Ms Clancy said.
Labor’s investment will also support initiatives including the use of Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) Biodiesel in on-site generators, which would reduce the festival’s carbon emissions by about 42,000kg.
WOMADelaide Festival Director, Ian Scobie, welcomed today’s announcement.
“This exciting commitment will enable us to establish the WOMAD Academy, a program designed to support the development and evolution of young musicians from the most diverse backgrounds and showcase their work on stages at both WOMADelaide and the network of international WOMAD festivals.” Said Mr Scobie.
“Additionally, it will enable WOMADelaide to become an industry leader in pursuing sustainability projects that will drastically lower our environmental footprint; initiatives that can then be implemented across the wider Australian festivals and events market.”
Labor believes the arts represent so much more than entertainment.
“Our cultural policy is about ensuring the power of the arts reaches well beyond official arts bodies and into the lives and experiences of all Australians,” said Ms Clancy.
Our support for Her Majesty’s Theatre and WOMADelaide builds on existing commitments including:

  • $85 million to establish a new Aboriginal Art and Cultures Gallery at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide to house, protect and celebrate thousands of years of Indigenous history in Australia.
  • $20 million for an Australian music Live Music Fund to support live music venues, hotels, restaurants, cafes, festivals, precinct events and musicians for the presentation of Australian music through a new grants stimulus program. 
  • $10 million for the new Sounds Australia to support music exports and live music.
  • $37.5 million over the forward estimates, maintained to total $112 million to save the Australia Council by restoring the funding cut by the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government.
  • $5 million to strengthen arts engagement in Asia, with a focus on promoting awareness and appreciation of Australian art in the Asian region and awareness and appreciation of Asian art throughout Australia.