Culture

The Greens Have Pledged An Extra $270 Million To The Arts To Counter The Government Cuts

“It is well and truly time for the attacks on our arts to come to an end."

The Australian Greens have announced a new arts policy which aims to “reverse the Liberals’ attacks on the arts” by challenging recent widespread funding cuts and pledging an additional $270 million into the arts sector. The plan includes investing $1 million into a National Arts Week and building an advocacy body for Australian authors. The Federal Government recently indicated that they would cut funding to 62 small to mid-level arts organisations, many of which won’t be able to run without government aid.

One of the most controversial aspects of the funding cuts to the Australia Council, was the reallocation of $12 million of their previous budget to Catalyst (a body who don’t provide operational funding, but instead funds projects selected by the government — a.k.a not youth-led literary journals). Under the new Greens arts policy, Catalyst will be disbanded and the budget will be given back to the Australian Council.

“A vibrant, well-resourced and independent arts community is core to any thriving society. 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,” Greens Arts spokesperson and MP Adam Bandt said.

“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. Australians will know that a vote for the Greens this election is a vote for a thriving arts community.”

Doubling the funding available for Australia Council Grants will bring it back to the levels it was at in 2013 under the Labor government, however it’s not just small organisations that that the Greens wish to replenish. The National Gallery, National Library, National Museum, Screen Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive would also have their budgets restored. Other initiatives described in the Greens arts policy included providing $3 million to the ArtStart program (which provides financial assistance for young artists) over the next four years and increasing funding by $2 million per year for regional touring through Playing Australia.

Of course all of this is contingent on the Greens winning big at the federal election (which if you watched the leaders’ debate last night, might sound like a solid option to you right now). However, with arts funding such a contentious issue for young voters, this policy is sure to be very popular.

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Image from Adam Bandt/Facebook