Under the Liberal Government, the Australia Council, our primary arts funding body, has lost over $100m in funding commitments for community organisations. This has caused widespread closures already, with many more expected to close in 2016. The entire Australia Council appropriation is only $185m, in a federal budget that last year totalled over $451bn.
“The arts unequivocally contributes to a cohesive, creative community and strong Australian identity,” said Mr PJ Collins, founder of The Arts Party. “It is also a major economic driver. The arts and creative industries contributed more than $90bn to the economy last year.”
“Youth arts and education are critical to our future. Research has shown that the arts foster young imaginations which leads to improved academic achievement and encourages critical and innovative thinking, valuable skills for a modern workforce.”
“We cannot allow this Government to decimate our cultural heritage, institutions and creative opportunity, which will affect all Australians now and for generations to come.”
The Arts Party believe that the arts are also pivotal in bridging cultural divides and creating a more tolerant, cohesive society, essential to our sense of community, belonging and identity.
Mr Michael Lynch, arts leader and winner of the 2016 Sue Nattrass Award to honour exceptional service to the Australian live performance industry, has commended the ‘courageous group’ who set up The Arts Party. Across the country, people are starting to notice this new movement.
“We exist to encourage a more creative, cultural and prosperous life for every Australian, said Mr Collins. “We want to show our politicians there’s widespread support for the arts in every form, so we will be standing candidates across the country this year, to give every Australian the opportunity to vote for something they believe in for a change.”
10 candidates have been announced so far, including comedian, Anthony Ackroyd. When asked on why he was standing, Mr Ackroyd said, “I am a passionate advocate of the arts. I believe the arts, in all its myriad forms, has tremendous importance both culturally and socially. This significance needs to be recognised more broadly and artists of all stripes need a louder more effective voice in mainstream society.”
For more information, visit: www.artsparty.org for details.
Image: PJ Collins – courtesy of the Arts Party