CMAA has big plans for future

UNDER a new president and changes in board members, the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) has big plans for 2014, with a focus on Tamworth.

President and acting chairman Dobe Newton said the organisation would take time to re-establish full credibility after issues in recent months.

During the turmoil with the organisation, three long-time board members resigned due to other commitments, with the CMAA in the process of replacing them.

Former chairman Jeff Chandler is an artist manager and the artistic director of the Gympie Muster, Graham Thompson has served since the organisation was founded in the 1990s and Marius Els will continue as treasurer while the CMAA finds a replacement.

“While these three stalwarts will be sorely missed, it provides us with an opportunity to inject some fresh thoughts and voices,” Mr Newton said.

“We are in discussions with a whole list of names and want to replace strength with strength.”

Mr Newton said plans for the year ahead included working closely with Tamworth Regional Council and establishing a secretariat that has executive functions, rather than just the administration functions it has had in Tamworth.

“We are caught in a catch-22 situation where if you don’t have the resources, you can’t have a fully functioning office, but if you don’t have the office, you can’t create an executive that is fully functional,” he said.

“We are utilising the academy, which is the most wonderful thing we do. At the moment it’s completely self-funding, so if we can replace some of that funding, we can have resources to have a functioning executive.”

Other priorities include better communication, creating a Tamworth-based integrity committee to oversee the awards eligibility/

nomination process, exploring possibilities for national and international expansion of the academy and working with Tamworth Regional Council to maximise the value of the sister city relationship with Nashville.

Mr Newton said the CMAA would also be involved in the proposed Tamworth Music Council and work on relationships with other festivals and industry bodies.

“There are the major events and we need to be a presence, so we’re seen as a proper representative body,” he said.

“The bottom line is, you have to give it your best shot.”

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