Essential arts: Our response to the arts being merged into a super department

In the wake of the Federal Government announcement that the arts has been been made less visible, here is ArtsHub's position.

We believe the arts are essential to Australia. Art has the ability to shape our nation, tell our stories and represent the kind of country we want to be. Art enriches our lives and shows us what it means to be human. Through art we learn empathy and gain insight into the sublime.

Like many of our members, we were disappointed by the Federal Government’s recent announcement to roll the arts into a new super department. We believe the arts need a strong voice in government to lobby for more funding to invest in the growth of our creative industries. The absence of the word ‘arts’ in the title of the new Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications sends a clear message – whether intentionally or not – that the arts are undervalued by this government.

The cultural sector contributes more than $100 billion annually to the economy and employs more people than the mining sector. Culture is a growing industry in Australia – even though it sometimes feels as the government would prefer to see us invisible. In recent years we have seen significant cuts to the arts, including the 2015 raids on funding that saw money taken from the Australia Council to the sector’s detriment, as well as ongoing efficiency dividends.

Here at ArtsHub we want to see a future in which the arts are nourished, our artists are supported to produce new and challenging work, and audiences for Australian visual, performing, literary and screen arts are actively nurtured and grown. We want to see the arts recognised and celebrated – and their value recognised and supported by government at all levels.

We regularly report on the importance of the arts as a creative, ethical and wellbeing resource. To this end we have taken all of our coverage about the creation of a super-department, in which the arts are invisible, out from behind the paywall in order to make it freely available. We will continue to follow this story in the New Year and encourage our members to be part of the arts’ ongoing representation.

We will continue to support artists, makers and arts organisations so their work is valued by the Federal Government into 2020 and beyond.

Our coverage to date


Department of Arts axed in government power play

Ripples spread on arts and communications mess

Sector responds to invisible arts department

Disappearing arts department: politicians respond

5 ways you can protest the arts department being axed

Op Eds from the sector

Why do the arts continue to be marginalised?

Did we not see #invisiblearts coming?

What’s in a name?

About the Author
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