Community, country and sector: fighting for change

Rather than accept the new status quo after funding cuts, we should fight for change, said speakers at the Australian Theatre Forum.
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On 12 May 2014, the Australia Council for the Arts – and the broader Australian arts sector – reeled in shock as then Minister for the Arts George Brandis announced he had reallocated $104.8 million over four years from the Australia Council’s budget to a new arts funding program, the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (later renamed Catalyst).

The subsequent chaos this inflicted on the Australian arts sector – including the cancellation of funding rounds and a significant decrease to funding for independent artists and the small-to-medium sector, all while the major performing arts companies were insulated from the cuts – has been well documented.

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Richard Watts OAM is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, a Melbourne Fringe Festival Living Legend, and was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize in 2020. In 2021 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Green Room Awards Association. Most recently, Richard received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in June 2024. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts