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Newman boosts arts funding

Written by Simeon Lawson
Parliament House, Brisbane

The current Queensland government is aiming to win back support from the creative arts community.

In a push to repair the state government’s reputation amongst the arts community, Campbell Newman’s office have announced increased funding to a number of local Brisbane arts programs.

Following the controversial funding cut of the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards in April, endorsement of QLD government’s actions was hard to find amongst the majority of Brisbane residents.

Seemingly in an effort to win back voter’s support, over $8.5 million of funding has been confirmed via statements from both the offices of the Premier Campbell Newman and MP Ros Bates, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts.

Whilst the majority of this funding was already allocated in the previous Queensland State Budget, arts groups who are to benefit from this funding will be relieved that these resources will not go the way of the Literary Awards, in a bid to reduce the state deficit.

“We’ve had to reshape some grants programs to find savings that will help get the state’s finances back on track,” Ms Bates said, in a statement concerning Arts funding in the recent state budget.

“By paying down the debt we inherited from Labor, we’ll be able to spend more on the arts and science in the future.”

The 2012/13 state budget, which was only just released to the public, is devoid of any new program development announcements, excluding a single press release regarding the Regional Arts Fund, Super Star Fund and a proposed Arts Grants Support Officer position.

The proposed $8.5 million funding allocation includes $3.1 million for the Regional Arts Development Fund, $3 million for the established Super Star Fund, as well as a total of $771,332 for 33 various projects throughout Queensland.

Increased funding will help keep the music industry alive.

Any proposed funding to groups in the ‘arts’ community is, generally, divided amongst popular sections including fine arts, musical theatre, live music, dance and fashion.

Whilst local arts programs received increased funding, live music was an area devoid of any significant funding in the latest budget, as the local live music scene loams upon an increasingly momentous decline.

This lack of financial assistance for the live music and musical entertainment sectors demonstrates the perceived social priorities of the Queensland government, as over $54 million is invested into sporting events and facility redevelopment over the next financial year.

This $54 million invested into public sporting events, includes the upcoming 2014 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, over $12 million for the Noosa Triathlon, as well as $12.5 million for the National Surf Lifesaving Championships.

Given the long term decline of the live music scene in the Greater Brisbane area and the recent closure of a number of iconic music venues, greater equality between the state arts funding and other publicly funded sectors will become increasingly emphasized in the coming years.

As any arts financial allocation falls outside of “Queensland’s four pillar economy”, it remains a low priority to those who are able to effect change and stem this community’s decline, adding to the mounting concern of those within the local Brisbane music scene.




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