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Commenting on the announcement today that Australia Council for the Arts chairman David Gonski AO would be leaving the Council at the end of this financial year, CEO Jennifer Bott said the Australia Council and the Australian cultural sector had benefited enormously from David Gonski’s insightful leadership.

‘From the outset, David energetically involved himself in the Council’s activities, while being a wonderful advocate for the arts as a whole,’ Ms Bott said.

‘In overseeing the Australia Council’s major structural reforms, he provided strong and steady leadership. He has been an inspirational chair, and it has been a joy to work with him.’

Mr Gonski was appointed Australia Council for the Arts chairman in May 2002 and was reappointed in May 2005. Mr Gonski will chair his final meeting of the governing Council in Sydney on 1 June.

Ms Bott said David Gonski’s ‘odyssey’ was arts philanthropy, which as Council chair he had pursued with passion. ‘It is no exaggeration to say that, through such initiatives as Artsupport Australia, David has changed the face of arts philanthropy in this country, building bridges between arts bodies, arts supporters and corporate Australia. He not only fostered the big ideas in philanthropy but also worked tirelessly on nuts-and-bolts issues to make things happen. His efforts to generate workplace giving for the arts were an example of this innovative approach.’

David Gonski said serving as Australia Council chair had been a great honour, and extremely satisfying. ‘The organisation is filled with hard-working, creative and committed staff, and my colleagues on the Council have been very supportive in helping us reshape the organisation for the future. I’m happy to have achieved what I set out to do. Now it’s time for a new chair to take over.’

The Australia Council for the Arts is the Australian Government’s primary arts funding and advisory body. It supports and encourages the development of Australian artists and aims to increase access by all Australians to arts and cultural activities.

Media enquiries to Stephen Mahoney on (02) 9215 9032 or 0403 090 022 or



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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