Art Changes Lives
West Australian Ballet stands for the Arts
The National Day of Action has been called for Friday 17 June in response to the cuts to the arts budget over the last two years. At last week’s National Arts Debate both Labor and the Greens outlined their respective arts policies. The Coalition did not offer one.
West Australian Ballet and Artsource, together with other leading arts organisation in Western Australia, is supporting the call from our Chamber of Arts and Culture WA for:
- A long-term National Arts Policy, supported by evidence-based data and shaped by open and respectful consultation with the arts and cultural sector, including individual artists.
- Commitment to properly resource the implementation of the National Arts Policy to achieve its objectives.
- Recognition of the challenges that large states like WA face in giving artists, audiences and communities access to, and participation in, diverse arts and cultural activities throughout the state and beyond our borders.
- The immediate restoration of the federal arts funding level to that which accompanied the Creative Australia policy in 2013 with its increase of $235 million over four years.
- Commitment to indexation of arts funding.
- Commitment to the primacy and independence of the Australia Council for the Arts as the major arm’s length federal arts funding body.
- The return of unspent monies from the Catalyst budget to the Australia Council. If Catalyst continues to exist it should be with greater transparency of decision-making and resourced through new money found outside the current arts budget.
- A greater and more collegiate collaboration between the Ministry for the Arts, the Australia Council and the state arts funding agencies so that a truly national grid exists to support artists, arts organisations and audience development.
It is vital that the arts remain on the agenda during the final two weeks of the election campaign. Here’s how you can support the arts on the National Day of Action and until election day:
- Sign the national petition HERE.
- Write an email or letter of support for the arts to your local candidates (contact details below).
- Get on social media and post about your support with #istandwiththearts and #ausvotesarts.
- Write to the Arts Minister, Hon Mitch Fifield: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Spread the word – ask your personal networks to join in and help too.
- Vote for the candidates with the best arts policies on 2 July.
A message from our Acting Chief Executive, Jan Stewart
The primary issue is the need for a long- term national policy framework for arts and culture in Australia which recognises the importance of the arts in all its forms – the major companies as well as all forms of arts practice – to the kind of society in which we all want to live and the contribution the arts make to a civil society. The policy needs also to recognise the very real value of the arts to the Australian economy including the jobs created not only directly in arts practice but in all the supporting industries associated with this sector as well. The arts are integral to the current debate on creativity and innovation and how that can be achieved throughout every form of industry and endeavour in this country.
Budget decisions taken without this kind of policy framework have created unnecessary disturbance in an interconnected sector. A comprehensive national policy needs to underpin the activities of clearly independent arts and cultural funding agency, like the Australia Council so that is clear that funding decisions are not caught up in the political process.
The particular challenges in a state the size of Western Australia in providing access to the arts for the broader community including those in regional Western Australia need to be considered. We need a greater investment than we have at present through the Federal Government so Western Australians can share equally in the creative wealth of this country.
In terms of the critical issues for West Australian Ballet which we know are shared by our colleagues in other kinds of arts organisations, the costs of production continue to rise but there is no indexation of public funding which means in real terms funding is going backwards. We have ambitious plans not only for excellence in this art form but also make our state ballet company accessible for all those in Western Australia as well as to become recognised in the Asian region where this State has such strong business ties. Cultural exchange between Australia and our Asian neighbours is an important element of Australia’s policy in this region and something we would like to see considered as part of this forthcoming election.