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Arts Minister Mitch Fifield looks at NPEA revision
Recently appointed Australian Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield is reportedly looking at a series of changes to the controversial National Program for Excellence in the Arts
Apparently looking to make a decision in a matter of weeks after consultation with the arts sector, Senator Fifield appears to be taking account of months of protests, campaigning, lobbying and petitioning the Federal Government over one of the most widely derided policies in the history of the arts in Australia.
Senator Fifield (pictured) inherited the hugely unpopular NPEA initiative when appointed to the arts portfolio in late September, the program having been revealed by his predecessor Senator George Brandis as part of the 2015/16 Federal Budget.
However whereas Senator Brandis had been dismissive and inflexible in the face of huge outcry from the arts sector, Minister Fifield has seemed more open to listening to the concerns of artists and while he has remained loyal to the former Arts Minister’s funding reforms, which has seen almost $105 million snatched from the Australian Council, he has now pledged to make changes.
In an interview with the ABC, Senator Fifield stated “there’s unhappiness and a desire for me to take a look to see if we can make some adjustments to what’s proposed.”
Crucially Fifield has shown a willingness to take his cues from arts leaders, in change of approach from that of Senator Brandis, whose policy appeared to be guided by his own personal preferences.
Senator Fifield added “I’ve got a bit more consultation to do with the arts sector and then I’m keen to make a decision, and we’re talking a matter of weeks rather than months.
“There will be some adjustments but the exact nature of those I still want to chat a little bit more.”
The news of an overhaul to the NPEA, and the Arts Ministers assurances of a swift decision may go some way to explaining the reason the NPEA has been so severely delayed.
In a recent Senate Estimates Hearing, Minister Fifield was forced to admit that no assessors had been appointed to consider applications to the NPEA and no funds had been distributed, despite the new Program apparently having been in operation since 1st July.
1st October 2015 - NPEA BLAMED FOR POSTPONEMENT OF MAJOR ARTS DISABILITY EVENT
21st September 2015 - CULTURAL SECTOR WELCOMES END OF GEORGE BRANDIS’ TERM AS ARTS MINISTER
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