News Update 28 September 2011

The news is again full of rugby-related matters, with a few interesting snippets such as LEOTC funding and museum developments sneaking through. Even if you’re not a rugby fan, there is no doubt that the whole country is buzzing with events and activities, including museum and gallery programmes – and they seem to be well-received by visitors from far and near. The latest news round up is here in our members’ area.

MA12 conference
The MA12 team is planning a fabulous conference in Wellington, with great social events for you to meet new colleagues and catch up with old friends as well as serious sessions for your professional development. Keep an eye out for an announcement of international keynote speakers soon. We have circulated a call for papers. There will be a range of formats, from formal presentations to more interactive sessions with short talks, panel discussions and workshop-style otpions. Please send your ideas to us by 30 September, including an indication of what kind of format you think would work best. We have already received some great proposals, and the planning team will be meeting in early October to arrange the detailed programme.

Tourism data
The latest forecasts from Tourism Research predict income from Chinese tourists overtaking Britain and the USA next year. However, their spend will still be less than one third that of our Australian tourists. The average annual growth in tourist expenditure from 2010-2016 is forecast at 2.7%, This compares with an actual decline in international visitor expenditure of 6.5% for the year ended June 2011 and a forecast increase of 10% for 2011 – presumably because of the Rugby World Cup. With figures this variable, the proof will certainly be in the pudding!

Financial reporting
There are changes afoot in the financial reporting standards, relating particularly to small to medium non-profit organisations – which includes a great many museums.  The Minister of Commerce, Hon Simon Power, issued a media release on 14 September which outlines the proposed changes for different kinds of entities. For example, it is indicated that the External Reporting Board (XRB) is likely to accept a simple format reporting approach for registered charities with operating expenditure less than $2 million – this could reduce compliance costs such as audit fees.  There are position and consultation papers on the XRB website. The closing date for submissions to the XRB is Friday 16 December 2011.

National cultural policy
Both Australia and Scotland are currently consulting about national cultural policy. Across the Tasman, the Office for the Arts is now in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and has released a discussion paper which outlines goals and strategies for a new National Cultural Policy. The discussion paper specifically talks about ‘arts and creativity’ in terms of the future of Australia’s society and economy, and the policy aims to “embed the arts and creative skills in national life by recognising and strengthening the links between a creative culture and priorities to boost economic productivity, drive innovation and strengthen community cohesion”. There is a clear emphasis on innovation and emerging technologies, and the split between ‘arts’ and ‘heritage’ is of some concern. Heritage remains within the revamped Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Community – which includes historic places, indigenous heritage and moveable cultural heritage – and is not covered by this new ‘cultural’ policy. The discussion paper is open for comment until 21 October 2011, and the implications of the separation of arts/culture from heritage are worthy of consideration.

On the other side of the world, Museums Galleries Scotland has opened consultation on a national strategy for Scotland’s museums and galleries. MGS was appointed by the Scottish government to lead the strategy process, and will take on its delivery when finalised – an interesting model for government-museum sector partnership. The National Strategy Consultation document is open for comment until 8 November 2011.

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