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Sydney Dance Co under threat.

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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 March 2005

Sydney Dance Co under threat

The Sydney Dance Company looks set to become part of the fall out as the Howard Government's arts policy bungling becomes a full blown fiasco.

The internationally renowned company is understood to be in emergency negotiations with the Australia Council over a reported deficit of at least $600,000. Quite simply they are facing insolvency.

Labor also understands that the dance company board, chaired by M&C Saatchi CEO Tom Derry, has indicated it will resign if the deficit is not eradicated by 31 March, when the company accounts must be signed off.

In Question Time today Labor today sought some answers on the position of the dance company.

Arts Minister Rod Kemp admitted that the Sydney Dance Company was facing financial problems and had met with him and with the Australia Council on a number of occasions. The discussions were continuing but he could offer no

solutions for the dance company.

This is not good enough.

The news about the premier dance company's dire financial situation comes in the wake of bad news for community arts and orchestras around the nation.

First there were massive proposed cuts to community arts, next jobs cuts at the Tasmanian, Adelaide and Queensland Symphony orchestras. Now one of the nations' premier dance companies faces serious financial problems and a board revolt.

The core problems are the Government's inadequate funding model, a low rate of indexation of arts company grants and the deduction of a 1% efficiency dividend.

The grant for orchestras is indexed at a rate of 2.2% a year, which drops to 1.2% once the efficiency dividend is deducted. Costs grow at around 4% a year, leaving a huge gap in finances each year. Other arts organisations face similar shortfalls.

It is time the Howard Government put an end to this relentless slash and burn approach to the arts. It is time for the Howard Government to acknowledge the contribution the arts made to the cultural and economic life of the nation, and fund arts realistically.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson, 0417 142 238. Electorate Office: 62 Lygon St CARLTON SOUTH 3053 Ph: 03 9639 2798 Fax: 03 9639 3109

Canberra Office: Parliament house CANBERRA ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3730 Fax: 02 6277 5911 Email: Toll Free Number: 1800 673 169