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 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

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