Fremantle Press board responds to budget cuts

The Fremantle Press board is concerned by the recent federal government decision to remove $104.8 million from the Australia Council’s budget over the next four years and redirect it to a newly created fund, to be called the National Programme for Excellence in the Arts.

‘The announcement of the cut, contained in the 2015 budget, was a profound disappointment,’ Board Chair Ian Lilburne said today.

‘It has disrupted the Australia Council’s new funding programs, leaving many arts organisations uncertain about their potential funding going into 2016. Moreover, it could lead to a duplication of services in the establishment of another agency to distribute federal funds.

‘We believe that the Australian tradition of keeping arts funding at arm’s length from political influence is the most transparent way to allocate government money. We hope Minister Brandis will reconsider the decision to create a duplicate arts funding body.’

Mr Lilburne said it was apparent that the economic and social benefits of arts and culture through the creative industries across Australia were not fully understood or appreciated by governments.

‘The creative industries are a significant part of the nation’s service sector, which represents some three quarters of Australia’s gross domestic product employing eighty-seven per cent of the workforce.

‘As an independent funding body, the Australia Council’s role is to provide “seed capital” for innovation and creativity that benefits all Australians.’

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