Will the unique combination of the personal and political lead to a stalemate on the arts funding crisis?

The findings of the Senate inquiry into the arts funding crisis, which were published on Wednesday night, sent an unequivocal message to the arts community. With 13 damning recommendations that roundly slammed the decision to slash the Australia Council’s budgets to set up an Arts Ministry administered fund, the report proved that the past six months of campaigning, protesting and petitioning against the NPEA had been justified.

However, despite the report expressing in no uncertain terms that the National Programme for Excellence in the Arts, rebranded the Catalyst Fund two weeks ago by new Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield, should release the millions of dollars taken from the Australia Council, the Government members of the committee were equally vocal about their opposition to the findings. Within the published documents a “dissenting report”was included that not only contradicts all of the 13 recommendations made by the inquiry, but also suggests that some kind of conspiracy to marginalise and exclude Liberal representatives, while generating the overwhelming volume of negative testimony against the NPEA, was...

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