A ‘debt’ of the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) will be waived by Armidale Regional Council if the museum can reduce the balance of $152,472 to $100,000.
Armidale Regional Council Administrator Dr Ian Tiley approved the debt forgiveness at the council meeting on Wednesday 29 June.
In June 2016 council received a submission from Mr Andrew Murray Chair of the NERAM Board requesting council consider waiving the ‘debt’. The request came after an inspection of NERAM and its wonderful art collection by the Administrator Dr Tiley.
The Administrator noted that the NERAM Board had made every effort to consistently pay the debt to council over almost a decade and had repaid $300,000.
“NERAM’s commitment to paying back the debt and the importance of the regional museum and its outstanding collection of Australian art played a significant role in my decision to waive part of the debt,” said Dr Tiley.
“I also considered that works of art were the property of the regional community and should not be ‘fire-saled’ to meet the debt. It is time to recognise the value of NERAM and to make a fresh start.”
NERAM Director Robert Heather said it was a great opportunity to reset the relationship between NERAM and the Council.
“Armidale Regional Council is our most important stakeholder and NERAM will work closely with Council to bring better exhibitions and programs to our community,” said Robert Heather.
“Waiving this debt means that we can get on with the job of being Armidale’s most significant tourism and cultural facility and this relief will help NERAM achieve a more sustainable future.”