Former Arts Minister George Brandis launched a ruthless attack on Australian art and the arts community in this year’s Budget. He gutted $105 million from the Australia Council and siphoned this money into his own personally-controlled vanity project -- the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA).
This was condemned by the Australian arts community as a move that politicised arts funding and undermined the independence of public funding for the arts.
The good news is that George Brandis is now no longer our Arts Minister. New Arts Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield, can reverse much of this damage by scrapping the NPEA and restoring this funding to the Australia Council.
Add your name as to our open letter calling on new Arts Minister Mitch Fifield & Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to scrap the NPEA and work with the arts sector to support Australian artists and protect arts independence.
The open letter:
Dear Minister Fifield,
Congratulations on your appointment as Minister for the Arts.
The former Arts Minister George Brandis cut $105 million out of the Australia Council and redirected it into a new creation, the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA). There was no prior review of the Australia Council’s operations nor any suggestion that a new body needed to be created. He did not consult with the sector before announcing the NPEA.
These dramatic changes to the funding of arts in Australia have already had huge consequences on the arts community, in particular small to medium arts organisations and individual artists. The cutting of funds from the Australia Council and the creation of the NPEA have been widely and rightly condemned by the Australian arts community.
As the new Minister for the Arts, you have the opportunity to restore funding and independence to the arts.
We, the undersigned, call on you to scrap George Brandis’ plans for the NPEA and immediately restore the funding to the Australia Council. We also ask that you conduct broad consultation with the arts community before making any further decisions on the future of arts funding and policy in this country.
We note that restoring the funding allocated for the NPEA back into the Australia Council would have no impact on the Budget, but it would have a strong a positive impact on the arts community in Australia.