Arts Minister Senator Mitch Fifield at the National Press Club. Source: Daily Review.
Raymond Gill, So, when will Catalyst be wound down?, Daily Review, 26 October 2016
Daily Review recently revealed that the Coalition’s arts funding debacle will see its recently introduced Catalyst program be scrapped and most, if not all, the funds returned from the Minister’s department to the Australia Council.
The question is not if but when Arts Minister Senator Mitch Fifield will announce the changes. It will happen no matter how the government decides to spin its backflip in an effort to to repair the damage unleashed by the former arts minister, the accident-prone Senator George Brandis.
It’s clear that it’s going to take some time to unscramble this ideologically driven and bizarrely executed Brandis mess. The Catalyst fund has already allocated funds to recipients with some of them set to receive funds for the next four years. In April and May this year the government announced its lists of recipients who would receive a total of $48 million over the next two years.
One presumes those organisations will keep those funds even if the Australia Council is the body that will be charged with dispensing them. One also presumes that the many small to medium organisations who lost their funding to pay for the Brandis folly will not have those funds restored — in the short term at least.
However or whenever it’s effected, it cannot be done too soon. There are huge complications and anomalies within the dual funding exercise that are so ludicrous that they can only have been realised once Catalyst came into operation. But then you didn’t need to be Nugget Coombs to realise that duplicating funding through two bodies — Catalyst and the Australia Council — is as stupid as it is a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money.