Senator denounces Labor’s failed pitch to wedge arts community

Northern based LNP Senator Ian Macdonald has criticised Labor and the Greens for using arts funding as a tool to try and wedge the nation’s arts community.

Speaking in the Senate yesterday, Senator Macdonald said the decision by the Arts Minister, the Hon Mitch Fifield to create a new arts fund should be recognised for the valuable contribution it will make to an innovative arts and cultural industry instead of being portrayed by Labor and the Greens as an attack on its autonomy.

“The Minister has rightly taken into account feedback from the consultation the Government initiated with the release of the draft guidelines for the new arrangements announced in the 2015 Budget and has come up with a viable funding model that will ensure our nation’s burgeoning arts industry continues to flourish,” Senator Macdonald said.

The new Catalyst fund will see $12million available annually through three streams – partnerships and collaborations, innovation and participation; and international and cultural diplomacy.

Senator Macdonald said the new arrangement will provide the Australia Council with capacity to continue to support the Australian arts community through grants and initiatives for individuals, groups and organisations whilst providing a platform from which to support innovation, particularly in those areas where funding is sometimes difficult to access.

“The arrangements put in place by the Commonwealth department of the Arts in relation to grants are exactly the same as those applying in the states, three of which are run by Labor governments.

“And yet Labor, the Greens and the Green Independent who set up this inquiry seem to think that the same process adopted by the Commonwealth department was improper and wrong.

“This just shows the blatant political nature of the inquiry.”

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