NSW government considers Sydney Opera House take over of Carriageworks

5/05/2020 11:04:00 AM

Exclusive: The Sydney Opera House would take over operations at the collapsed venue Carriageworks under a proposal being considered by the NSW government

Exclusive: The Sydney Opera House would take over operations at the collapsed venue Carriageworks under a proposal being considered by the NSW government

Sources say an approach to a new operator was under way even before administrators took control of the multi-arts venue in the historic Eveleigh rail yards.

The multi-arts venue in the historic Eveleigh rail yards becameThe Sydney Morning HeraldThe multi-arts venue in the historic Eveleigh rail yards entered voluntary administration on Monday.AdvertisementIn a statement issued on Monday night, Carriageworks said it had no choice but to call in administrators after restrictions on public gatherings had resulted in an "irreparable loss of income". In April, Carriageworks froze spending and stood down half its core staff.

"Think about it, who else could do it?" one government source, close to discussions but not authorised to speak publicly, said. "You are going to need other performing arts centre operators with a good balance sheet.""Sadly arts and culture for some people is about control and power and having the biggest voice," the source said.

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Larger text size Very large text size The Sydney Opera House would take over operations at Carriageworks, the contemporary performance space which called in administrators on Monday, under a proposal being considered by the Berejiklian government.Play video More staff and residents have tested positive for the virus over the past week, taking the total number to 26 staff members and 37 residents, fuelling anxiety and concern among relatives of the residents.'More people will need to get tested' as restrictions ease: NSW Premier 05/05/2020 | 5min Gladys Berejiklians has urged people to come forward for COVID-19 testing as New South Wales looks to ease further restrictions.Share on Facebook Share on Twitter NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has confirmed he wants to be the Liberal Party candidate at the upcoming by-election in the federal seat of Eden-Monaro.

The multi-arts venue in the historic Eveleigh rail yards became , after the shutdown caused the cancellation of a number of major events including the Sydney Writers' Festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and Vivid shows. Sources close to discussions with the Opera House told The Sydney Morning Herald that a push to hand the venue to the Opera House Trust was under way before administrators were called. But this is not a feasible option for some. The government was unhappy with the financial position of the organisation before the pandemic, the sources said. Three new cases of coronavirus were confirmed overnight out of 5,200 tests. The government's arts funding body Create NSW provides annual grant funding of more than $2. Ms Lane said her mother had tested negative three times to COVID-19, but she wished to see her moved to another nursing home or to a hospital where she can be safely cared for in isolation.5 million to Carriageworks. Mr Constance said he wanted to run for federal parliament to put"a number of issues squarely on the national agenda when it comes to recovery" from the summer's bushfires and the COVID-19 crisis.

The multi-arts venue in the historic Eveleigh rail yards entered voluntary administration on Monday. "To me it’s simple. Credit: Louise Kennerley Advertisement An Opera House spokeswoman said the Trust "has been approached by the government to consult on the long-term sustainability of Carriageworks as an important cultural venue, particularly at this most difficult time". “We were deeply saddened to hear of Carriageworks Ltd going into voluntary administration," the spokeswoman said." Families were informed this week that steps are now being taken to separate COVID-19 positive residents in the worst-hit wing of Newmarch House from those who have tested negative. In a statement issued on Monday night, Carriageworks said it had no choice but to call in administrators after restrictions on public gatherings had resulted in an "irreparable loss of income". In April, Carriageworks froze spending and stood down half its core staff. NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay urged Health Minister Brad Hazzard to use his power under the Public Health Act to intervene and ensure healthy residents were relocated from the facility. Source Stay up to date with SBS NEWS App.

Chief executive Blair French said he hoped the facility would be able to reopen to artists and the community once the state recovered from the effects of the pandemic. Were Carriageworks’ corporate entity dissolved, the government would be free to appoint a new body to take over the lease via an open competitive tender process. "This includes moving residents without the virus away from harm, and ensuring those who have contracted COVID-19 are getting the best, most appropriate care. The Opera House is regarded by senior arts bureaucrats as best placed to create a viable public program appealing to Carriagework's traditional patrons. "Think about it, who else could do it?" one government source, close to discussions but not authorised to speak publicly, said. "He [the infectious disease expert] specifically advised me that under no circumstances should these people be removed unless it was done with their clinicans' support and their support. "You are going to need other performing arts centre operators with a good balance sheet.

" Loading A source with knowledge of Carriageworks described the move as "a Sydney power play". Sign up to our Coronavirus Update newsletter Get our Coronavirus Update newsletter for the day's crucial developments at a glance, the numbers you need to know and what our readers are saying. Carriageworks, the source said, had shifted cultural focus away from the harbour to communities and artists in a way that an organisation like the Opera House never could. "Sadly arts and culture for some people is about control and power and having the biggest voice," the source said. Labor's treasury spokesman Walt Secord said it was "extraordinary" that the government had allowed Carriageworks to collapse and called for an emergency rescue package for the arts sector. “Carriageworks is the tip of the iceberg; there are so many other arts groups and organisations as well as individuals who are in absolute strife and at risk of going the same way as Carriageworks," Mr Secord, who also has responsibility for the arts, said.

“This entire sector of the community has been ignored by the government ... they have been completely left out in the cold, without the government offering a single cent of support." The popular night markets at Carriageworks last year.

A NSW government spokesman said the pandemic had affected many industries and funding across the arts sector needed to be "fair and equitable". “The government will explore options as it works to secure the long-term sustainability of Carriageworks, including consulting with the Sydney Opera House, and more widely to ensure the venue continues to serve and inspire the community as a cultural precinct," the spokesman said. In 2018, Carriageworks posted a deficit of $559,236, taking in $1.5 million from the box office, $1.1 million from food programs and markets, and $3.

9 million from commercial events. The deficit was caused by a one-off write-down of $618,647, but the directors had been satisfied about Carriageworks future given it had secured Create NSW funding until 2021. .