The Brag Media
News May 10, 2018

Live performance, arts, sectors slam Federal budget: no investment, no new policies

Live performance, arts, sectors slam Federal budget: no investment, no new policies

“A big disappointment” and “an approach that serves neither the country nor the arts sector well”… these were some of the responses of live performance and arts executives in response to the Turnbull government’s federal budget.

Live Performance Australia (LPA) called the budget “a missed opportunity” given that it had put forward a number of proposals to the government in its budget submission.

These included to support new Australian content, innovation and job creation for the $2.5 billion live performance industry.

“This budget is a big disappointment for live performance,” offered LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson.

“There’s nothing there in terms of new policy initiatives or investment to support the live performance industry’s growth and sustain the 34,000 jobs in metropolitan and regional areas supported by the industry.

“The government’s neglect of live performance in this budget follows the upheaval of earlier budgets including the Catalyst fiasco.”

Post-Catalyst, the minister for the arts, Senator Mitch Fifield, indicated he wanted to work with industry to develop a more strategic approach to supporting live performance in Australia.

‘That was almost two years ago, and as this budget shows, the Government is yet to take up the opportunity to come up with any meaningful policy initiatives or plan for our industry or the creative industries more broadly.”

The live performance industry is a strong one: over 1.8 million attend shows in capital, regional and country areas.

Richardson added, “Live performance promotes Australian talent and creativity across a range of genres, and is a major driver of our visitor economy, attracting visitors from interstate and overseas to see performances or attend festivals.

“It really is time for the Turnbull government to reflect the economic and cultural contribution our industry makes to Australia with a broader vision and some long-term, strategic policy initiatives that support its future growth,”

Henry Boston, executive director, of the Chamber of Arts and Culture, acknowledged the budget provided some small gains for the SBS and funding towards upgrading cultural institutions like the National Gallery.

But, he said, “overall the inevitable ‘term of government’ thinking and a lack of policy framework betray an approach that serves neither the country nor the arts sector well.”

Bethwyn Serow, executive director of the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) also described the budget as “disappointing:”

AMPAG had pre-budget earlier expressed that it offered the opportunity to fuel artistic ambition and audience reach.

It also outlined how, linking the arts to other portfolios would strengthen outcomes in innovation, tourism, cultural diplomacy, education and health, “and contribute significantly to the resilience of regional communities…(and) recognising the significance of First Nations artists and arts organisations, and supporting the ongoing work, with government investment, to carry forward their rich culture.”


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