THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
BRANDIS WRONG ON FUNDING CUTS TO THE NATIONAL CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS
Senator George Brandis is in denial over short-sighted funding cuts to the National Cultural Institutions in the Abbott Government’s Budget.
In the Senate yesterday, Senator Brandis claimed there has been no cuts in this week’s budget to the National Gallery, the National Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery when questioned by Labor Senator for the Australian Capital Territory, Katy Gallagher.
Senator Brandis is wrong. This year’s budget makes cuts to these institutions, after last year’s unfair budget also slashed funding to the arts.
In this Budget the National Gallery will receive $61.5m for 2015-16, down from $63.1m – a cut of 2.5 per cent.
The National Museum will go from $48.2m this year, to $47.6m next year – down 1.2 per cent.
The National Portrait Gallery takes a much worse cut, from $15.5m to $13.8m (11 per cent).
(Reference: Budget Paper 4 – Agency Resourcing p 22 and following pages http://bit.ly/1QO1MOi)
Senator Brandis also claimed that this is the second consecutive year that there has been no significant reduction in arts funding “overall”, and that there has been no reduction in arts funding of “substance” this year.
Apart from being wrong – the arts took a cut of over $100m last year - these vague statements conceal very real cuts this year to the National Cultural Institutions. As a result of these cuts, these institutions are now having to reduce services and public access.
The Budget papers also show that the Government will cut $13.2m over five years from arts and cultural programs in the Australia Council, Screen Australia, and the Ministry for the Arts. (Reference Budget Paper 2 Budget Measures p 59).
These national institutions play an important role in the Canberra economy and also provide jobs for ACT residents. Any cuts to funding of these popular national institutions just add to the list of cuts Canberra has worn under the Abbott Government since its first budget 12 months ago.
THURSDAY, 14 MAY 2015