Media release: AICSA welcomes SA arts funding reprieve

MEDIA RELEASE: For immediate release: Wednesday 22 June 2016

Arts Industry Council of South Australia welcomes the South Australian arts funding reprieve announced by Arts Minister Jack Snelling MP

AICSA chairperson Gail Kovatseff said, “The announcement on June 19 returns $7.7 million previously cut from Arts South Australia’s budget. We welcome this much-needed investment and congratulate the Minister for listening to our concerns. The South Australian Government has prioritised the maintenance of funding for arts and culture. We look forward to further dialogue about increasing the support provided to South Australia’s arts and culture sector, in line with the Government’s commitment to innovation.”

The funding will include $700,000 for the Adelaide Festival of Arts, $3 million for Arts South Australia and $4 million each year to drive economic activity and job opportunities in the arts.

On the same day Minister Snelling joined Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis and Douglas Gautier, CEO of Adelaide Festival Centre, to announce a much-needed upgrade to Her Majesty’s Theatre. This $35 million investment will enable commercial musical theatre projects to come to Adelaide. It is a significant investment in arts infrastructure and the future of major performing arts organisations in South Australia. The project will result in jobs both in and outside of the South Australian arts sector.

The South Australian arts sector continues to face a dire environment, with five theatre, visual arts and multidisciplinary small-to-medium arts organisations missing out on previously secure multiyear funding. They join other organisations such as the Media Resource Centre and Riverland Youth Theatre who have lost Federal funding through discontinued programs and initiatives under the Liberal National Government. Of equal concern is the expected seriously destructive impact on independent artists who find themselves in a situation of creating new work with 70% less Federal funds available to support their practice.

“In the current landscape of investment in the arts, the South Australian Government’s announcements over the weekend offer hope to a sector that is losing artists and arts leaders to other sectors of the economy, and to other states such as Victoria where there has recently been an increase, in real terms, of funding for cultural industries,” said Ms Kovatseff.

“AICSA encourages the South Australian Government to continue its investment in the arts. There is much to be gained by supporting the arts, harnessing the creative energy of South Australian artists and walking the talk when it comes to innovation and new industries and economies. Funding for the small to medium sector, community engagement and independent artists remains at an all-time low and needs urgent investment.”

AICSA will continue to advocate to both Federal and State governments about the need to invest in arts and culture, a sector that employs more people than agriculture, construction or mining, and that generates $50 billion for the Australian economy for comparatively modest subsidy.

Last night, Tuesday 21 June, AICSA held a forum for South Australian candidates in the Federal election to share their parties’ arts policies and visions. Over 100 attendees heard from representatives Mark Butler, MP (Australian Labor Party), Senator Robert Simms (Australian Greens), Matthew Wright (Nick Xenophon Team) and Terence Crawford (Arts Party). The Liberal Party failed to provide a speaker for the forum.

In the final week of the election campaign, AICSA will be distributing a targeted flyer in the marginal Federal seat of Hindmarsh asking voters to consider the commitments, track records and policies of all parties. AICSA, and many of our members, will also email a comparison of arts policy to our members, subscribers and audiences.

After the Federal election, AICSA will be turning its attention to an eighteen-month campaign around local arts funding in the lead-up to the March 2018 State election.

“We are looking forward to continuing a discussion with the State Government, who have shown they are willing to listen to the concerns of artists and arts organisations, and have in this instance protected the sector from severe cuts initially proposed.”

“Investment in arts infrastructure and capital projects benefits the sector, without a doubt. However, we are also looking forward to visionary policy proposals that secure the future of South Australian artists, the small and medium sized organisations that employ them and deliver to audiences across the year, and contemporary South Australian arts practice. We will be speaking with all parties about initiatives that can support the local arts ecology in the lead-up to the State Election over the next 18 months,” Ms Kovatseff concluded.

The Arts Industry Council of SA is the state’s independent, sector wide representative arts body. www.aicsa.net.au

 

For media info: please contact AICSA Executive Officer, Michelle Wigg on 0411 771 671 or info@aicsa.net.au

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