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Arts Sector

Michaela Boland, Arts sector asked for new funding model: George Brandis, The Australian, 28 May 2015

Arts Minister George Brandis says he quarantined $100 million of Australia Council funding to be distributed via his department because arts constituents had lobbied him to do so.

In Senate estimates hearings, Senator Brandis stepped up his criticism of the council, accusing it of “partial patronage (that) hides prejudice behind a cloak of artistic integrity”.

“There are those who take a very purist view and say no arts dollar should be spent except by an arms-length from government, by peer review process through the Australia Council,” he said.

“There are those who take the opposite view and say every dollar spent by government should ultimately be of the minister’s endorsement, so the minister can be answerable for it. As in most of these debates, the sensible position, I think, lies in the middle.

“What we have tried to do is to reflect that.

“The Australia Council arms-length process is a good model, which is why 88 per cent of arts expenditure will continue to be directed (to it) but also to accommodate the alternative view that there ought to be some ministerial responsibility for arts funding by providing for about 12 per cent of funding in the National Program for Excellence.”

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