Further $12 Million In Arts Funding Shovelled Out During Campaign

The Abbott-Turnbull Government stunned the arts community today when it emerged a further $12 million of arts funding from a ministerial slush fund had been quietly snuck out over the same weekend the election was announced.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

FURTHER $12 MILLION IN ARTS FUNDING SHOVELLED OUT DURING CAMPAIGN

The Abbott-Turnbull Government stunned the arts community today when it emerged a further $12 million of arts funding from a ministerial slush fund had been quietly snuck out over the same weekend the election was announced.

If we needed any more evidence that the Catalyst Arts and Culture Fund was nothing more than a political plaything of this Government, this was it. Only last week, the previous financial year’s allocation of almost $12 million was unceremoniously dumped on an arts media website. Now, just one week later, the next $12 million has been announced in a similar fashion.

Labor was concerned from the very beginning that this ministerial slush fund, created by the failed Arts Minister Senator Brandis from the $105 million ripped away from the Australia Council in the 2015 Budget, was open to misuse for election pork-barrelling.

The way this $24 million has been announced – moments before the official caretaker period – confirms those fears. It compromises the principle of arms-length, independent arts funding established by the Australia Council over many years in this country.

This is no way for arts funding worth millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to be handled.

A Shorten Labor Government will restore integrity in arts funding by abolishing Catalyst and returning all unspent funds to the Australia Council, from which those funds should never have been taken.

MONDAY, 9 MAY 2016