The Federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, will have the chance to soak up the rich cultural and environmental heritage of our region during a full day of events when he visits Page on Wednesday.

Page MP Janelle Saffin says she invited Peter Garrett to the region after she was approached by local artist Dailan Pugh, who wanted the Minister to open his upcoming art exhibition at the Lismore Art Gallery.

“In Dailan we have an incredibly talented person, a wonderful creative artist and dedicated conservationist who has a unique talent for combining art and environmental activism,” she said..

“I followed through with his request because I saw that it brought together Peter Garrett’s Ministerial responsibilities of both the environment and the arts and it was also a great opportunity to show off our regional talent.

“The Northern Rivers area has the highest number of artists in Australia outside of a capital city, and we also have a strong reputation for environmental protection and I want the Minister to get a real understanding of the needs of our region and what we have to offer.

“I was also approached by Martin Brooks and Dr Tony Parkes from the Big Scrub Rainforest Landcare group who wanted to invite the Minister to see first-hand the rainforest rehabilitation and restoration made possible with funding under the Caring for Country program.

“Once the Minister agreed to these events, I tried to squeeze in as many other events and meetings with local environment, arts and heritage groups as possible.

“The Director of the Lismore Regional Art Gallery, Stephen Alderton, has been lobbying me for a long time about the planned Margaret Olley Arts Centre for Lismore, so I have made sure he has an opportunity to present this proposal to the Minister.

“In Lismore Peter Garrett will also visit the 3 Rivers Aboriginal Art Space in Lismore to make an announcement on Indigenous Arts Development in the Northern Rivers and meet the indigenous artists’ advisory group.

“Also on the packed agenda will be a visit to the WetlandCare Australia, the national wetland protection organisation based in Ballina, and a meeting with the Friends of the Koala in Lismore.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Minister Garrett to be exposed to the breadth of artistic and environmental endeavours of our community, and I have no doubt that the talent and ideas from our region will make a strong impression.”

The Minister will open Dailan Pugh’s exhibition, Marine Wonderland, at the Lismore Regional Gallery on Wednesday July 8, at 1pm. The exhibition runs until September 5.