Mobilising audiences to oppose Australia Council Budget cuts

Arts companies are enlisting the weight of audience opinion to protest the Minister's Budget move redirecting funding from the independent Australia Council into his own department.
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Federal Minister for the Arts Senator George Brandis QC has made plain in the past that he places great value on audiences.

‘It’s been one of my constant themes in both my periods as Arts Minister that the one group of stakeholders always forgotten about in discussion of arts policy is the audiences, or public who go to shows at galleries,’ he told The Weekend Australian last year. ‘Frankly I’m more interested in funding arts companies that cater to the great audiences that want to see quality drama, or music or dance, than I am in subsidising individual artists responsible only to themselves.’

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on community radio station Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Festival Living Legend in 2017. In 2019 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021.

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