Federal budget 2018-19 offers paltry support for the arts

Instead of undoing damage inflicted on the Australia Council, Scott Morrison’s latest budget instead splurges almost $50m to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's landing.

Official portrait of Captain James Cook from the National Maritime Museum, United Kingdom.

Recalling the $4 million splashed on the Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund but on a grander scale, the Turnbull Government’s 2018-19 budget fires another salvo in the culture wars by allocating $48.7m over four years to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage to the South Pacific and Australia.

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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