Dance protests draw national attention to budget cuts

Artists across Australia engaged in a mass dance action to highlight concerns over Senator Brandis’ cuts to the Australia Council.
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Protestors at the Melbourne #FreeTheArts rally. Photo by Richard Watts

Hundreds of artists gathered in capital cities and regional centres last Friday to demonstrate their concerns over the decision by Federal Minister for the Arts George Brandis to cut $104.8 million over four years from the Australia Council’s budget.

The reallocated funding will be used to establish a new National Programme for Excellence within the Ministry for the Arts, while the reduced budget available to the Australia Council has already resulted in the shock axing of numerous funding programs and initiatives.

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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