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Live Performance Australia speaks out against Brandis' arts cuts

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Live Performance Australia (LPA), the country’s peak body for the live performance industry, has criticised the federal government’s plans to cut $105 million from the Australia Council to establish the National Program for Excellence in the Arts. In a submission to the Senate Inquiry into arts funding changes, LPA says it is clear that the new funding arrangements will have significant negative effects on the small-to-medium sector.
The submission recommends that the federal government:

“1. As a matter of urgency, addresses how it is going to ensure that the operational capacity of Australia’s small-medium arts sector is supported in the short and long term.

2. Develops a national creative industries plan that clearly states strategic priorities and measurable goals including delivering arts excellence. The framework should clearly articulate how the funding objectives of the NPEA and the Australia Council complement each other.”

While the LPA broadly welcomes the establishment of the NPEA and the principles of broadening the availability of arts funding, it says that redirecting funding from the Australia Council to the newly established body “significantly undermines delivery of the Australia Council’s 2014-19 Strategic Plan, endorsed and launched by the Minister for the Arts in August 2014.”
LPA says that it has received consistent feedback from the small-to-medium companies amongst its 400 members that if the new funding arrangements remain unchanged, the sector will “suffer significant casualties.” LPA’s members also include all 28 companies from the Australian Major Performing Arts Group, which are quarantined from the cuts.
The submission, which was recently uploaded to the Senate Inquiry website, appears just days after LPA President Andrew Kay delivered a passionate speech about the importance of the small-to-medium arts sector at Monday’s Helpmann Awards ceremony, which is an initiative of LPA. He said that Australia’s smaller companies and individual artists are a major source of artistic innovation and an excellent proving ground for new artists and ideas.
One of the major winners on the night was Perth’s Barking Gecko Theatre Company, which creates work for younger audiences and falls within the small-to-medium sector under direct threat from Brandis’ Australia Council cuts. Barking Gecko co-produced The Rabbits (pictured above) with Opera Australia, which picked up four Helpmanns, including Best New Australia Work and Best Original Score.
Another big winner was Brisbane Baroque’s Faramondo, which did not receive funding from the Australia Council. In an interview with ABC Radio National’s Books and Arts the following day, Brandis said that his ministry had funded the performances, which was a justification for redirecting funds from the Australia Council to his own NPEA. But Brisbane Baroque artistic director Leo Schofield later denied the Minister backed the performances.
Currently 171 of the reported 2200 submissions have been uploaded to the Australian Parliament website. The Senate Inquiry, which was launched by Labor and the Greens, has public hearings scheduled for Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth and Sydney over August and September. Its report is due to be tabled on September 15.
[box]Featured image by Toni Wilkinson[/box]

Read more on Brandis’ cuts
Big arts companies expected to help those hurt by Brandis’ cuts says Martin Foley
(Some) local and international artists voice their anger at Brandis’ cuts 
You can read the NPEA Draft Guidelines here.
New details emerge about Brandis’ arts “Slush fund” 
The Brandis raid so far …in pictures
Video: Artists protest Opera Australia opening 
MTC (sort of) weighs in to Brandis’ arts cuts controversy 
Protest planned for Opera Australia opening night
Major arts companies issue fresh statement on Brandis’ cuts
Senate Inquiry launched into Brandis’ arts cuts
Australia Council cuts: the companies on the chopping block
Editorial: Shameful silence over arts cuts

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