MUSIC NEWS. Turnbull government takes another $9m from the Australia Council. Local Region Arts Engagement Dashboard. New multicultural policy – “Victorian. And proud of it.”

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Turnbull government takes another $9m from the Australia Council

Crikey’s Ben Eltham has looked at Treasury’s Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements. He discovered that the government has taken another $9.2 million from the Australia Council funding over the period of the forward estimates via an “Efficiency Dividend” and “Changes in Parameters”. This represents a 6% cut in the Council’s discretionary funding.

According to Eltham, most of the Council’s funding is now committed over the next few years and this unexpected additional cut to its revenues has caused concern to the Board that it may not be able to meet its commitments.

To meet these commitments, the Council has drawn down $10m from reserves, to be spent over two years.

Eltham states: “The implications of the new funding cut are clear: further slashes to the Australia Council’s discretionary grant programs. Distributing grants to solo artists and small projects to make culture used to be the core business of the Australia Council. But after three years of ongoing austerity, grants to artists are down 72% from 2013 levels. On current trends, there may soon come a time when the Australia Council stops distributing grants to individual artists altogether.

“It also seems likely that the Australia Council will have to shed more staff.”

Efficiency dividends, a flat percentage cut in budgets, are spread across the Federal bureaucracy on the principle that it will then be obliged to do the same job with less money and thus become more efficient. But most of the Australia Council’s budget goes to artists, who are unlikely to be running large corporate expense accounts or employing lots of managers and staff who can be fired in the name of efficiency. In past years, the Council has been exempted or the efficiency dividend has been applied only to its own administrative expenses.

Is it getting to the point where the Council’s own financial position is so precarious that under its own rules, it would be ineligible for funding?

The Australia Council’s Additional Estimates Statements contains a footnote explaining the new Australia Council funding cut. Source: Department of Communications and the Arts.

Interactive Local Region Arts Engagement Dashboard launched

Australia Council for the Arts

The Australia Council for the Arts has released a new online interactive dashboard that looks at attendance and participation with the arts at a local region level across Australia.

Australia Council for the Arts commissioned the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to prepare data using the smallest geographical area, Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4), to profile how people engage with the arts.

Sculpture, Hunter Valley garden

Tony Grybowski, Australia Council for the Arts Chief Executive, said the most recent 2013-14 Local Region Arts Engagement data, converted into a user-friendly platform, can compare areas at a local region level across Australia.

“By analysing the ABS data, the new Australia Council online interactive dashboard can reveal museum attendance in Hobart compared to Townsville or, if more people are engaged in creating visual arts in Geelong compared to Darwin,” Mr Grybowski said.

“This type of critical information can be used to better inform and understand how people engage with the arts in their local communities, which is invaluable for all levels of government, locally-based artists and arts organisations, touring programs and businesses operating in the sector.”

The Local Region Arts Engagement dashboard data reveals that:

  • Museums and art galleries were most popular with ACT and Tasmania residents;
  • ACT residents were by far the most engaged as audiences, with 91% attending arts or cultural venues or events, followed by Victoria at 86% and South Australia and Western Australia at 85%;
  • 89% of residents in Cairns attended arts events or venues compared to 73% in Latrobe-Gippsland;
  • More people in Parramatta (23%) created or participated in the arts compared to Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs (18%); and
  • 47% of people in Warrnambool and South West, Victoria engaged in creating art compared to 28% in Mandurah, WA and 23% in Darwin.

View and compare your Local Region Arts Engagement data on the Australia Council for the Arts Research webpage.

Multicultural Arts Victoria welcomes new multicultural policy – “Victorian. And proud of it.”

Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV) Board of Management and staff congratulates the Minister for Multicultural Affairs Mr Robin Scott MP and the Victorian Multicultural Commission on the new Multicultural Policy statement – Victorian. And proud of it.

Our multicultural composition is at the heart of our local and national identity, and intrinsic to our history and character. Our diversity and Victoria’s diaspora gives us a competitive edge socially, culturally and economically in an increasingly complex globalised world.

It demonstrates that Victoria is a proactive leader in the development of a socially and culturally inclusive community. Victoria’s Multicultural Policy statement places importance on individuals’ stories and acknowledges the role of being connected to culture and community.

Egyptian music – the Tawadros brothers

This new multicultural policy statement and associated storytelling campaign Victorian. And proud of it is creatively articulating the benefits of multiculturalism and what we all value as a community.

“Arts and culture are powerful tools to create connection and social inclusion. It is essential safe spaces where refugees can interact within the wider community, learn to navigate the system, develop social connections and acquire the confidence to articulate their cultural identity in the Victorian context are facilitated. This can assist with the settlement and integration process to create a sense of belonging” says MAV CEO Ms Jill Morgan AM

The policy statement can be read here: https://proud.vic.gov.au/

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