Party will reverse cuts and invest extra $270.2 million, doubling investment in small to medium arts organisations.
Earlier this month, Shadow Minister for the Arts Mark Dreyfus QC announced the Labor Party’s pledge to restore money siphoned from the Australia Council budget into the Catalyst fund should Labor win power at the July 2 election. Now The Greens have thrown their hat into the ring, announcing the first part of their arts policy in which they have pledged to reverse the Abbott-Turnbull government’s funding cuts and invest an additional $270.2 million in the sector.
“A vibrant, well-resourced and independent arts community is core to any thriving society. Yet instead of investing in our arts and artists, the Liberal government launched an unprecedented attack on the arts sector under former Arts Minister George Brandis,” Greens Arts spokesperson and Federal Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt said.
The Greens will commit to disband the controversial Catalyst fund, restoring full funding to the Australia Council, and will double the amount of funding for the Australia Council’s Grants and Initiatives for small to medium arts organisations and individual artists. They have also indicated that they will reverse efficiency dividends imposed on key cultural institutions and create a National Arts Week, an artist in residence programme at Parliament House and an advocacy body for Australian authors.
“When George Brandis was sacked, artists and art-lovers breathed a sigh of relief, believing the attack was over,” Bandt said, “but new Arts Minister Mitch Fifield refused to undo the damage his predecessor had done, only restoring partial funding to the Australia Council and shamefully decided to rebrand, not disband, Brandis’s personal slush fund from the NPEA to Catalyst.”
The devastating 2015 cuts to the Australia Council under Attorney-General George Brandis caused a backlash in the arts community and led to the formation of The Arts Party, who released their policy platform earlier in the year. The Greens appear to have embraced the Arts Party’s proposal to create a National Arts Week.
“The Greens want to see the arts valued by the broader community, just like sports and science,” said Bandt, “we rightly have a National Science Week and the Greens will invest $1 million to create a National Arts Week. This is an initiative of the Arts Party which the Greens are proud to advance.” The Greens plan to announce further support for artists and the arts sector in the coming weeks. “Australians will know that a vote for the Greens this election is a vote for a thriving arts community,” said Bandt.
The Greens’ arts policy includes:
• Restoring the full amount of funding cut from the Australia Council, ensuring that more individual artists and small to medium arts organisations can access Australia Council grants and re-establishing programs that were cut;
• Providing an additional $3 million to the ArtStart program over the next four years;
• Doubling the funding (from 2013-14 levels) available for Australia Council Grants and Initiatives for small and medium organizations and individuals;
• Providing funding of $20 million over four years to pay artists when their works are publicly displayed;
• Increasing funding by $2 million per year for regional touring through Playing Australia until total funding reaches $10 million and then an indexed amount annually;
• Removing touring arts companies from the ‘in Australia’ rule from 1 July 2017 which would allow organisations to become tax exempt entities;
• Creating an Arts Research and Development grants program to encourage innovative arts projects with an initial funding allocation of $5 million over the next four years;
• Introducing an artist in residence program at Parliament House supported by funding of $1 million;
• Supporting national voices in the arts with a funding allocation of $1 million over the next four years;
• Providing $1 million to Tourism Australia to promote Australian art around the world and encourage visitors to engage with the arts in Australia;
• Establishing a National Arts Week by providing funding of $1 million over the next four years.