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Carriageworks Successfully Secures Independent Future

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The future of Australia's largest multi-arts precinct has been secured thanks to extraordinary support from a group of benefactors and commitment to providing a 10 + 5 + 5 year precinct lease and 5 year funding from the NSW Government, the Carriageworks Board of Directors announced today.

Following a ten-week Voluntary Administration process conducted by KPMG Partners, Phil Quinlan and Morgan Kelly, the 2nd Meeting of Creditors overwhelmingly accepted the Deed of Company Arrangement proposed and negotiated by Carriageworks' Board of Directors.

Motivated by the crisis and the importance of an independent Carriageworks to the cultural fabric of NSW, a small number private foundations pledged major gifts to ensure artists and audiences continue to have access to the sense of community history and the unique creative environment of the Carriageworks precinct.

Carriageworks CEO Blair French said, 'Carriageworks is recognised for its contemporary multi-arts programming, a curated program that is central to the artistic fabric of Sydney and NSW. The risk of closure gave rise to a most extraordinary expression of community support that gave great heart to everyone involved with Carriageworks. I wish to thank everyone who has lent support over recent weeks, and in-particular the wonderful philanthropists who have made extremely generous financial pledges to secure our future. The difficult Voluntary Administration process has been eased by the excellent work undertaken by the administrators as well as positive dialogue with State Government and other key partners. We recognise the impact of this process upon our staff, artists, suppliers, farmers market producers and audiences and look forward to re-engaging all our stakeholders as we re-emerge with renewed confidence and strength into what remains an operational environment constrained by COVID-19.'

Carriageworks Chair Cass O'Connor said, 'Never waste a good crisis' is apt guidance for current times.

From the outset, we undertook to provide the NSW Government with viable options for the future of Carriageworks the company, its activities and its Redfern home.

We could not have done that without Geoff Ainsworth and Jo Featherstone's Oranges & Sardines Foundation, the Neilson family's Neilson Foundation, the Gonski family's Gonski Foundation or the Packer Family's continued support of our Solid Ground program.

We have emerged from Voluntary Administration in the middle of a global pandemic with the longest lease in Carriageworks' history and a revised Business Model which is better able to cope with the challenges evident all around us.

We thank NSW Premier, The Hon, Gladys Berejiklian; the NSW Minister for the Arts, The Hon. Don Harwin; Mr Chris Keely and Ms Roslyn Mayled from Create NSW; and Ms Kate Foy and Mr Devlin Bell from DPC.

Plus our pro-bono legal advisors Arnold Bloch Leibler and Herbert Smith Freehills, and finally, Phil Quinlan and Luke Meany from KPMG who have given professional, commercial and helpful guidance throughout.'

Chair of the Oranges & Sardines Foundation, Johanna Featherstone said:

'Carriageworks is home for a diverse community of creative and passionate voices, all connected by the desire to make exciting experimental and inclusive Art. In our current climate of uncertainty and concern, the Oranges & Sardines Foundation believes now, more than ever, the survival of Carriageworks offers hope, strength and the inspiration of the Arts to the people of Sydney.'

Over the coming months onsite activity will return only as enabled by staged lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. A reopening of the Carriageworks Farmers Market is planned for early August, with details confirming the date and announcements regarding further public activities to follow shortly.

CEO Blair French said, 'Over 100 years ago this industrial place was born out of resilience and innovation. Through sheer grit, determination and collaboration, we are still here with a promising, independent future. We can't wait to welcome back the community,'


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