Any prospect of a Funding Package for the Arts???
Written by: Evan Lowenstein
As you all may be aware, over the last twenty-five years Lowensteins has been very active in attempting to lobby government for changes and improvements to artists’ conditions.
This advocacy was conducted either as a direct campaign like the launch of Save Super Art back in 2010 under the name of the Australian Artists Association Ltd which sought to prevent legislation that restricted the purchase of artwork by Self-managed Superannuation Funds, or directly, as Lowensteins is doing now, to seek more support for the arts community during Covid19.
To this end we have had regular meetings with Esther Anatolitis, CEO of NAVA, who has consulted with us about the best way to achieve some positive outcomes.
We have written to the Treasurer, The Hon Josh Frydenberg, in conjunction with NAVA, who have also submitted a wide-ranging submission to express the need on behalf of their constituents, inclduing our clients and the wider arts community to offer up some substantive reform and funding.
We are yet to hear a response.
We have been disappointed at the Federal Government’s response to the Covid19 crisis as it relates to the arts.
The arts in Australia contribute some $114 billion annually in economic activity and is a vital part of the economy and the nation.
To date in late June as I am writing to you, there have been no specific measures of any note to assist the artists, both performing and visual.
There has been some assistance given by the Australia Council in the form of redirecting funds to emergency relief through its Resilience Package but no new funding has been made available.
This reluctance of our governments to underpin the arts and artists is in stark contrast to our neighbours across the ditch in New Zealand, who have announce a NZD $114 million rescue package for its arts industry over there.
One may also point out the example of Germany that has actively sought to include the arts in their huge 50 Billion Euro (!) economic package.
Lowensteins and NAVA were expecting some movement last week when there was some talk in the media of the Federal Arts Department being personally instructed by the Prime Minister to offer up some worthwhile assistance following a controversial meeting of the Ministerial Committee of State Arts Ministers. It was apparently reported that they were also urgently requesting assistance on behalf of many arts bodies that were facing extremely hard times.
We issue a shout out to the Federal Government to listen more widely to the concerns of the arts community and to issue a substantial package that will be of benefit to the arts in Australia.
We are hearing news of Cabinet sign off on a relief funding package.
More details to come.