Ahead of this weekend’s Federal election, leaders in the arts sector have produced a successful campaign to put arts funding on the election campaign agenda. As a long time supporter of the arts, I am pleased to see the City of Sydney sign up to this campaign.
Sydney’s creative sector is a vital part of our city. The Coalition’s obvious contempt for the sector has been demonstrated in previous budgets cuts. I have spoken about these savage cuts before (here and here). The effect of these changes on our cultural sector has been enormous. Half of the small to medium size arts companies have had their funding removed. For many of those organisations it will mean the end of the road.
City staff have reported a rise in the number of organisations applying for grant funding since the cuts. While the City remains a strong supporter of local creative enterprises, it is simply not possible for us, and other local councils, to pick up the shortfall that the Federal Government has created.
If Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is as keen on innovation as he claims to be, he might recognise that innovation is at the heart of the creative sector. His preference for spending Government money on welfare for the mining sector, whilst cutting funding to the arts is the kind of thinking that will damage Australia in the long term. The future success of our society and its economy can no longer be dug out of the ground.
To connect with this campaign go to http://www.istandwiththearts.com/