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Rally hears that South Australian arts funding at risk of being ‘decimated’

Rally hears that South Australian arts funding at risk of being ‘decimated’
April 19, 2016

State Theatre Company of South Australia Executive Director Rob Brookman has warned that arts funding in South Australia has reached crisis point with many leading arts organisations at imminent risk of closing.

With the issue of arts funding prompting around 100 people to rally on the steps of South Australia’s Parliament House, Brookman said arts companies faced being "decimated" and many would be forced to close if both funding cuts went ahead.

Addressing the rally against proposed cuts to the South Australian Government's arts budget, Brookman stated “it's anticipated that roughly 40% of the money currently given to support wonderful organisations like Patch Theatre, Slingsby, the Australian Dance Theatre, Experimental Art Foundation and many others will be cut.

"It will result in a black hole for our community over the coming five to 10 years. It will see our artists leaving the state not able to support themselves, not able to see a pathway forwards, and it will completely give the lie to the idea that South Australia has got some kind of significant leadership role in the arts in Australia."

The South Australian Government plans to cut funding over the next three years by about $8.5 million per annum from 2018/19.

The rally, hosted by the Arts Industry Council of South Australia (AICSA), comes at a time when the arts sector is bracing itself for the impact of the dramatic cuts to the Australia Council for the Arts’ national budget.

A statement from AICSA explained “these proposed State budget funding cuts will significantly amplify the impact of the Federal Government’s cuts to the Australia Council. At the very least, it is expected to lead to the closure of a number of arts organisations, a cause for grave concern among South Australia’s arts industry about the future of the small to medium arts sector.”

AICSA Chair, Gail Kovatseff, added “locally, Arts South Australia research indicates that in 2014 the small to medium arts sector received less than 2% of the SA Government arts budget, but had local audiences of over 700,000.

“This indicates both their efficiency and their high impact on the lives of their fellow South Australians.”

The ABC reported that Adelaide freelance dancer Georgia Timperon said many of her fellow graduates from the Adelaide College of the Arts were already leaving the state.

Timperon stated “everyone's moving from Adelaide to go overseas just for job opportunities and it's really sad because it's not lack of talent or lack of people here.

"We've got a great group of dancers and artists in Adelaide. We're just not getting the funding."

 A South Australian Government spokesperson said the arts community was "not immune to cross-government efficiency targets", adding “we are working with all of the organisations and festivals that we fund, as to what impact that may have.”

In December last year the city was named as a Creative City of Music by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Top image shows Her Majesty's Theatre Adelaide.

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