Labor pledges ‘careful consultation’ on copyright, return of OzCo money
The Australian Labor Party (ALP) has pledged to ‘carefully consult on copyright’, close the Catalyst —Australian Arts and Culture Fund and return funding to the Australia Council as part of its arts policy, which was launched in Melbourne on 4 June.
In a joint statement by opposition leader Bill Shorten, shadow arts minister Mark Dreyfus and shadow communications minister Jason Clare, the ALP said it will ‘consider any proposals or recommendations to adjust the current territorial copyright regime with caution’. ‘While there are economic arguments to be made in support of this, such a significant change to our copyright laws could have a serious impact on our publishing industry, our authors and Australia’s cultural life,’ said the ALP.
On its ‘Creative Industries Creative Country’ policy page, the ALP also refers to ‘the serious concerns expressed by our publishers and authors about the Abbott-Turnbull government’s intentions on territorial copyright, and we take those concerns very seriously’. ‘A Shorten Labor Government would consult extensively and openly before reaching any decision on copyright changes which would have a significant impact on one of our most important creative industries,’ said the ALP.
On arts funding, the ALP has pledged to close the Catalyst fund and return all remaining money to the Australia Council, as well as provide an extra $20m a year in new funding over four years from 2017. ‘The Abbott-Turnbull Government destroyed the principle of arms-length, independent arts funding in this country by ripping $105 million away from the Australia Council and using it to create a ministerial slush fund, Catalyst,’ said the ALP. ‘This is wrong—arts funding should never be a political plaything of the government of the day.’
The policy to close the Catalyst fund would see $32m in total returned to the Australia Council over the next four years.
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