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Art funding cuts put Tasmanian icons at risk

Media Release
Nick McKim 3 Sep 2015

The Abbott Government’s changes to arts funding are putting at risk iconic Tasmanian events and organisations.

A Senate inquiry into the changes was today told that Tasmania’s arts scene would be disproportionately impacted by the decision to rip over $100 million in arts funding out of the Australia Council and hand it to Arts Minister George Brandis.

The inquiry was told the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival may no longer be possible as a result of changes to the way the arts are funded, and that the future of iconic organisations like Terrapin and Kickstart Arts are at risk.

Australian Greens Senator Nick McKim said the cuts were a direct attack on Tasmania’s arts sector as well as on artistic freedom.

“This is a smash and grab on Tasmania’s thriving arts scene. It is based on neither evidence nor consultation,” Senator McKim said.

"Tasmania has a thriving and vibrant arts sector, but unfortunately will be impacted more than the rest of the country by the cuts and changes.

“The proposed NPEA model is nothing more than an attempt to politicise arts funding, with chilling implications for freedom of speech and artistic expression.

“The arts sector contributes so much to our way of life in cultural terms, and in Tasmania, for example, there are far more jobs in arts and culture than there are in forestry.

“The evidence today shows that some of our favourite festivals and programs are now at risk, which will have negative implications for tourism operators and small business right across Tasmania.

“The solution is clear: Senator Brandis needs to restore the Australia Council’s budget cuts, and give them back the $104 million he took away so that it can be allocated by peer assessment rather than by interfering politicians.”

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