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Government must back off the arts: time for the Howard Govt to stop slashing community arts.



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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Public Administration and Open Government, Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation and the Arts 15/03/05

Govt must back off the arts Time for the Howard Govt to stop slashing community arts

In the face of overwhelming community protest it is time for the Howard Government to back off on proposed cuts to the nation's community arts organisations.

The threat to demolish community cultural arts programs across Australia's is just the latest episode in the Howard Government's bungled arts policy. Repeated funding reductions have backed the Australia Council and other arts organisations into a corner. The restructure proposed by the Australia Council comes with a $1.2 million price tag.

Labor welcomes recent reports from the Australia Council that suggest it may be softening its hard-line stance on cuts to community arts.

A meeting of the Council's governing body last Friday received reports on the continuing discussion with community arts organisations and expressed support for the "general thrust" of proposed reforms, but not the fine detail.

Labor calls on the Council to abandon its hard-line stance on destructive cuts to community arts.

The Council's original proposals were inadequately researched, suffered from a lack of public consultation and in many cases failed to meet the Council's own stated objectives.

The Council meets again in early April. By then the Reorganisation Taskforce should reconsider its position.

As a minimum, it must:

• Recommend a moratorium on further change and establish a public review of CCD strategies;

• Continue current CCD grant program arrangements; • Maintain a co-ordinated decision making process for CCD triennial and program funding, rather than splitting this between other Boards; • Maintain separate funding for CCD programs at current budgetary levels; • Retain the CCD Board until the results of the public review are complete.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson, 0417 142 238. 5911 Email: senator.carr@aph.gov.au Toll Free Number: 1800 673 169