Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

Image. Advertisement:

New ministers appointed for arts and small business; new Arts Minister Fifield set to keep NPEA

Mitch Fifield has replaced George Brandis as Arts Minister and Kelly O’Dwyer has replaced Bruce Billson as Small Business Minister under cabinet changes introduced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In a statement, Turnbull said that Fifield, who has also been appointed Communications Minister, will oversee the transfer of the Arts portfolio to the Communications ministry ‘to better align the funding and administration of support and incentives for our creative industries’. Responsibility for copyright and classification matters and legislation has also moved from George Brandis’ Attorney-General portfolio to Fifield’s Communications ministry.

In an interview with Radio National, Fifield indicated he plans to go ahead with former Arts Minister George Brandis’ National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA).

‘It is important to put into perspective what George [Brandis] was seeking to do,’ said Fifield. ‘We are talking about $26 million a year that has been shipped from the Australia Council. The Australia Council still has an annual budget of $185 million, which is not insignificant.’

The NPEA, which takes $104.8m from the Australia Council’s operating budget over the next four years, was announced in the 2015-16 federal budget on 12 May.

Fifield said the final model of the NPEA would take on board feedback from over 300 submissions from a senate inquiry into the program, but is likely to be finalised prior to the senate’s report in November.

When pressed by the Radio National interviewer on whether the money for the NPEA would be returned to the Arts Council, Fifield said: ‘I’m not saying for a moment that money will return to the Australia Council. What I’m saying is that … the exact nature and design of the program outside the Australia Council is yet to be completely nailed down.’


Category: Local news