Ministerial meddling in arts funding met by sector outrage

NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin went against Create NSW recommendations and reallocated $404,000 in funding, earmarked for 11 organisations and artists, towards a single pet project.

Image via Create NSW.

A damning report by the ABC backed by documentary evidence has established that the NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, rejected independent recommendations to distribute $660,000 across 17 projects in a recent Create NSW funding round.

Harwin instead signed off on funding for only six of the 16 applications, reallocating $404,000 towards a single project, which the ABC identified as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO).

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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