Film, Music, News & Commentary, Stage, Visual Arts

Greens to undo Brandis’ damage to the arts and commit to more funding

| |

There’s nothing like an arts funding crisis and the emergence of a party dedicated to the arts (the Arts Party) to focus the thinking of politicians.

The Australian Greens is the first of the big three parties to launch its Federal arts policy. Unlike some of the Greens’ previous efforts, its policy to be announced today, sees the party armed with some practical ideas rather than the motherhood statements it often reaches for come election time.

The party, along with the Labor Party, has doggedly pursued the LNP Government for over a year for its appalling attack on the Australia Council and the establishment of a “Catalyst’ ministerial arts fund. As the Greens has previously declared, it will return the $104 million to the Australia Council that the LNP’s former arts minister, Senator George Brandis, took last year to fund the LNP slush fund that became known as Catalyst.

But the Greens go further.

The party says it will invest an additional $270.2 million in the arts which will include doubling the amount of funding for the Australia council’s “Grants and Initiatives” for small to medium arts organisations and individual artists.

The Greens will also abandon one of the greatest burdens placed upon arts organisations — the “efficiency dividends” requirement that has seen many arts organisations struggle to meet the government’s increasing demands of belt tightening while funding remains static.

The Greens say they will establish a “National Arts Week”, an artist in residence program at Australian Parliament House and an advocacy body for Australian authors.

“The Greens want to see the arts valued by the broader community, just like sports and science,” Greens arts spokesman Adam Bandt said. “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 also sees:

· An additional $3 million to the ArtStart program over the next four years

· Funding of $20 million over four years to pay artists when their works are publicly displayed

· Funding by $2 million per year for regional touring through Playing Australia until total funding reaches $10 million and then an indexed amount annually

· Remove touring arts companies from the ‘in Australia’ rule from July 1, 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

· 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

The Greens have won the endorsement of two of the most active and outspoken arts advocates in the country.

Tamara Winikoff, the executive director of the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), said: “Having a vision for the arts in this country is something that has been sorely missing from the political agenda since the last change of government”.

“NAVA congratulates the Greens on taking the lead in developing a national arts policy. It demonstrates a recognition that the community cares about having rich and diverse cultural experiences and takes pride in Australia’s cultural achievements. We wait with interest to see whether the other parties will make a similar commitment,” she said.

Norm Horton, the executive director of Feral Arts which has also campaigned hard against the LNP’s arts attack, said the Greens had listened to the arts sector.

“(They) have come up with an outstanding policy that will both repair the damage done last year and kick start a new era for the arts in Australia. We are especially delighted to see the recognition of individual artists and the small to medium sector — the investment of $218.7m over four years will support the massive level of unfunded excellence exposed in the latest round of Australia Council grant results,” Horton said.

Australian Greens leader Dr Richard Di Natale will announce the Greens’ arts policy with Melbourne Ports candidate Steph Hodgins-May at Brightspace Gallery in St Kilda today at 12.45pm.

[box]Image: Adam Bandt and Richard di Natale. Photo via Flickr[/box]

3 responses to “Greens to undo Brandis’ damage to the arts and commit to more funding

  1. Providing $1 million to Tourism Australia to promote Australian art around the world and encourage visitors to engage with the arts in Australia

    THIS is an absolute waste of money and won’t touch the sides of the problem. Its very naive. The Greens ideas are well meaning BUT just giving more money to public servants and rent seekers won’t do anything. Sure the small companies need funding that is sustainable and the idea that artists get money when their work is shown for free to the public is very good. However the REAL PROBLEM for artists is tackling the Government Art agencies and institutions. Its a “dirty secret” that most of the big State Galleries pay no copyright fees and think they just don’t have to. The arrogance of these people (who get the bulk of the Public Funds) is outrageous. The big Art Galleries are totally UN-TRASPARENT so we have no idea what they pay for Australian or local art compared with OS art. We have no idea what they do really. Its a disgrace in the 21st Century.

    We need to make real structural changes so artists and creatives AND the general Public have more say over people who are paid public funds to SERVE THE PUBLIC! Instead the arts government workers treat artists as absolute nothings, except for the 1% of artists who suck up to the Gatekeepers. THIS IS THE REAL PROBLEM.

  2. Its a shame the greens are so out of touch with there immigration policy they have some good ideas but anyone with any concern for the environment would not another 34 million carbon negative refugees which is the greens wish so they wont be voted for

  3. Why do Labor and the Greens support the Australian arts ‘closed shop’ culture and its loss of cultural democracy for ALL Australians in providing access and accountability in arts funding? It is just extraordinary how the media and both parties have such a poverty of rigour and investigative enquiry in accepting the ‘dumbing down’ of the complexities within this sector. George Brandis did what he did because the arts funding in Australia has been hijacked by a salaried class that has grown to be undemocratic and sly in its fundamentalist realm. The Australia Council has been found to be unable to reform itself and provide access to many ‘need’ and private sector supported activity in the arts. The Catalyst program is about access for those communities and artists locked out of the arts sectors ‘closed shop’ system. We have heard not a single effort from the ‘closed shop’ elites to make a real concerted effort in the past 12 months to provide ‘closed shop’ reforms within its cosy sector that increasing looks like a cult group. Most of the brouhaha is just emotional moans from highly dependent leaners who can not address the real issues of cultural rights and democracy of access for all Australians. Shame upon your houses. And little wonder the general public have good cause to dismiss and devalue the arts sector.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *