Arts budget 2016 doesn’t hurt (much) but doesn’t heal

For the arts, the 2016-17 budget is steady as she goes: it neither inflicts major damage nor helps heal the damage done in previous years.
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The Turnbull Government’s election-year Budget has not inflicted major cuts on the Australia Council, but nor has it sought to repair damage done to the sector and the Australia Council by former Minister for the Arts ​Senator Brandis in previous years.

Efficiency dividends continue to bite, as cuts foreshadowed in the 2014-15 Budget measure Arts programmes — reduced funding, the 2015-16 Budget measure Arts and Cultural Programmes – efficiencies, and the 2015-16 MYEFO measure Communications and the Arts Portfolio – efficiencies flow through into the new financial year. Additionally, the Government’s funding of arts and culture has not been adjusted for inflation, which effectively amounts to a cut of approximately $1 million to the sector.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on 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 Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 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. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts