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Vale Libby Christie AM

Creative Australia is deeply saddened by the passing of Libby Christie AM. We pay tribute to her immense contribution and enduring legacy to our organisation and to Australian art and culture as a whole.

Libby’s contribution to the Australia Council for the Arts (now known as Creative Australia), over her time as Executive Director of Arts Funding and then Acting Chief Executive Officer, was considerable. She was responsible for the implementation of the Arts Start program, our Fellowships, and many other key initiatives. Coming to us from Sydney Symphony, Libby took it upon herself to become familiar with the breadth of artistic practice that we engaged with and invested in. She became a passionate and tireless advocate for all arts practices in her time at the Australia Council. As various teams discovered, she delighted in discovering engaging and excellence in artistic endeavour from orchestra and opera through to the emerging and experimental.

Libby Christie
Her time at the Australia Council was also marked by her commitment as a leader to simplify and provide better access to arts investment for organisations and for artists, writers, and creatives. She led programs to introduce a streamlined offering of grants and initiatives as well as an internal restructure to bring efficiencies to the administration of our investment in arts projects and organisations. Libby’s achievements were significant and she was held in the highest regard by her colleagues.

Libby was a naturally curious and inquisitive personality and loved to hear about the challenges and achievements of those around her. She touched the lives of many people who she worked with during her tenure at the Australia Council and subsequently as Executive Director of the Australian Ballet. She will be missed both as a friend and colleague, and as a champion of the difference arts and culture can make to the lives of all Australians.

Libby was most recently Executive Director of The Australian Ballet, stepping down at the end of 2022 after nearly a decade of steadfast leadership and unwavering commitment, exemplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. She left a similarly indelible mark on Sydney Symphony, where she served as Managing Director between 2003 and 2009.

With a degree in Arts and Adult Education from Sydney University and the Canberra College of Advanced Education, Libby’s career started in the further education and tertiary education sector, working as an adult educator in the ACT. Senior management roles in the technology and telecommunications sector followed for both Telstra and Optus, as well as a stint as President for the Asia Pacific region for the online recruitment giant

In 2020, Libby was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to performing arts administration and to women in business. Earlier this year, Libby was bestowed the highest honour from the Australian Ballet when she was welcomed into its group of life members.

Our thoughts are with Libby’s family and friends at this sad time.

Libby Christie AM