AICSA attended an ArtsPeak meeting where the focus was around what was missing from the Australia Council legislation and to identify key points for discussion with Australia Council for the Arts, Office for the Arts (OFTA), and the Deputy Secretary to the Arts .
OFTA summarised the background to the new legislation, provided a comparison between old and new legislation, and the parliamentary process and schedule for the Bill. Australia Council reminded everyone how hard it was to progress legislative change and how glad they are of progress to date and the associated funds. OFTA highlighted that additional detail to the new legislation can be found in the explanatory memorandum, and Stephanie Foster explained the role of the Australia Council Corporate Plan will be important. After the formal meetings ArtsPeak members debriefed and agree on a media statement.
There were two schools of thought:
1. Artspeak members agreed with the sentiment of changes to the legislation but had concerns that trying to push them through at the last minute might give the opposition & independents ammunition which may jeopardise the legislation passing and therefore stop the associated new Australia Council money flowing. This school of thought also considered the concerns were largely addressed in the explanatory memorandum and that the Australia Council Corporate Plan would be where the sector lobbies for current concerns, rather than at the act or legislation level, as it is at this level that guides what is actually done and any evaluations are undertaken.
2. Push for the changes to legislation.