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Senate to hold inquiry into Australia Council cuts

The federal senate will hold an inquiry into the impact of the funding cuts to the Australia Council in the 2015/16 federal budget.

A motion to hold the ‘Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts’ inquiry passed with support from all crossbench MPs, Labor and the Greens, who proposed the motion. A report by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Reference Committee is due on 15 September.

The inquiry will consider the impact of the 2014 and 2015 budgets on the arts; and ‘the suitability and appropriateness of the establishment of a National Programme for Excellence in the Arts’, with particular reference to the effect of the new funding arrangement on small to medium arts organisation, individual artists, young and emerging artists, the Australia Council, private sector funding of the arts, and state and territory programs supporting the arts.

Submissions to the inquiry are now open, and are due by 17 July.

In related news, a delegation of more than 60 arts representatives under the ‘Free the Arts’ banner met with politicians from Labor and the Greens in Canberra on 18 June. Arts minister George Brandis was invited to the meeting but declined, and the Coalition had no representative in the meeting, reports the Guardian.

Hannah Kent, author and co-founder of literary journal Kill Your Darlings, which published an open letter against the cuts, told the Guardian the ‘wide range of people in attendance at the meeting showed the industry’s concern’. ‘There has been a perception that arts organisations just by the fact that they keep going are OK and safe and don’t need the support of an arms-length government agency,’ said Kent. ‘This isn’t the truth.’


Category: Local news