1,000 signatures reached
To: George Brandis, Minister for the Arts
STOP BRANDIS GUTTING OUR NATIONAL ARTS!
Minister Brandis, reverse your plans to remove $104.7 million from the Australia Council for the Arts.
You appropriated this money to set up your own costly arts funding agency, destroying Australia’s ‘arms-length’ approach to funding and brazenly politicising the arts.
As you have ring-fenced 28 of Australia’s largest organisations from the cuts, this funding shortfall will hit independent artists and small-to-medium organisations the hardest.
These are the young or emerging artists in need of support so they can reach their full potential, the small rural companies that mean so much to their communities, the Indigenous artists who are an irreplaceable part of our cultural fabric, the experimental and innovative artists who challenge our understanding of the world around us, and the ethnically, sexually and culturally diverse groups who help us to understand Australia’s past, present and future.
Minister Brandis, you are waging a cultural war on thousands of Australian artists and arts companies and crippling the future of our vibrant culture. By threatening the viability of an independent arts sector, you are depriving future generations of a rich cultural heritage. Restore the $104.7 million to the Australia Council immediately.
Why is this important?
These changes strip the Australia Council – our nation’s independent arts funding body – of a quarter of its budget. This comes on the back of last year’s damaging cuts, which slashed the Australia Council’s capacity by $28.2 million over four years. The Australia Council is left with just $60 million - almost half of what Brandis has side swiped.
Minister Brandis’ actions threaten the art community’s ability to produce original Australian works, pay staff and collaborators, and administer wider outreach programs. These are organisations and individuals (small businesses) who already run on incredibly lean resources and many now face drastic down-sizing or closure. The ripple-on effect is going to cause significant damage and despondency across the entire Australian arts community as well as their ability to complete creative works and remain employed.
But these funding cuts don’t just hurt the artists involved. Artists tell stories. They reflect our experiences, help us to understand the world, introduce us to different perspectives and challenge our preconceptions. They inspire, educate and broaden the imaginations of all Australians.
By slashing the funding available to independent artists and smaller organisations, Minister Brandis is robbing Australia of these stories. By taking the money to set up his own discretionary fund – which will no doubt be directed towards larger organisations and mainstream art – he’s limiting the broad spectrum of voices that shape our national narrative which will create a less diverse, vibrant culture.
Politicians should not be handpicking which artists and organisations receive support; that’s the role of the nation’s independent arms-length arts funding body, the Australia Council for the Arts. The funding cuts to the Australia Council need to be reversed.
How it will be delivered
The arts community have convinced the Senate to launch an inquiry into Minister Brandis’ cuts to the Australia Council.
We will deliver this petition to Minister Brandis once the inquiry has completed – stay tuned for more details closer to the time!
Photo credit: Glenn Lockitch