The Australian Greens have launched the first part of their arts policy, which will reverse the Liberals’ attacks on the arts by restoring their funding cuts and invest an additional $270.2 million into the Australian arts sector.
The Greens will commit to disbanding the controversial Catalyst fund run by the Ministry for the Arts and restoring the full funding the Liberal government cut from the Australia Council of the Arts. In addition, the Greens will double the amount of funding for the council’s Grants and Initiatives for small to medium arts organisations and individual artists.
The Greens will also reverse the ‘efficiency dividends’ imposed on key cultural institutions and create a National Arts Week, an artist in residence program at Australian Parliament House and an advocacy body for Australian authors.
“A vibrant, well-resourced and independent arts community is core to any thriving society,” said Greens Arts spokesperson Adam Bandt MP. “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.”
“When George Brandis was sacked, artists and art-lovers breathed a sigh of relief, believing the attack was over. 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’ personal slush fund from the NPEA to Catalyst.”
“It is well and truly time for the attacks on our arts to come to an end. We must reverse the cuts and increase investment in our arts and artists. Today I am proud to release The Greens’ policy to revive the Australian arts sector and celebrate the role of the arts in our society.”
“The Greens will restore funding and independence to the arts by disbanding the Catalyst fund and returning its funding to the Australia Council. We will also double the funding available for small to medium arts organisations and individuals through Australia Council Grants and Initiatives.”
“The Greens want to see the arts valued by the broader community, just like sports and science. 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.”
“Australians will know that a vote for the Greens this election is a vote for a thriving arts community. The Greens will announce further support for our artists in the coming weeks.”
The Greens’ plan will comprehensively support artists and the arts sector, and 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; and
• Establish a National Arts Week by providing funding of $1 million over the next four years.
For more information, visit: www.greens.org.au/arts for details.
Image: Adam Bandt – courtesy of The Greens