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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2419

(Question No. 1031)

Senator Macklin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, upon notice, on 21 August 1984:

(1) Did the Government give a commitment while in Opposition to increase expenditure on the arts (including the Australia Council) to 1975-76 levels in its first parliamentary term.

(2) Is the Government instead considering diverting funds from one section of the arts which have relatively high levels of funding to those areas which have lower levels; if so, why.

(3) If the 1984 Budget will be the last in the parliamentry term, will the Government honour its commitment and increase arts funding to the 1975-76 levels .

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes.

(2) Present legislative and institutional arrangements provide for the Government to make decisions on the overall level of funding to be provided to the Australia Council, but not for its disposition on specific grants. This is a matter for the Council and its constituent Boards. In the circumstances it is not possible for the Minister to intervene in funding decisions made, or to be made, by the Australia Council.

(3) The Government's commitment envisaged the three budgets of a full parliamentary term. It is well on course with this program having taken the second step towards restoring funding to the target level in its 1984-85 Budget.