Baylee Collins | Tuesday 17 May  2016

I have to state clearly my involvement with the recent four-year funding decisions that came down from the Australia Council on Friday 13 May 2016. I sat on the Multi Arts panel as a peer, and so intimately witnessed the devastation that has been wrought on the small to medium sector through no fault of the Australia Council’s staff or the peers who assisted. To be confronted with such a long and deserving list of applicants, and to have to send back a list which we knew would be catastrophic news for some organizations, knew would mean the end of the line for some artists’ endeavours, knew that this would be that latest in a litany of messages from the Federal Government that said to artists “you are not valued, your passion and dedication is not recognized!” was heartbreaking!

I don’t know exactly what to do now, but I do know that our sector, and all artists, are enormously resilient! Yes we will protest, yes we will cry out loudly, proclaim our value and our culture. We can also band together, find new ways to share our resources, open up our spaces, talk to each other. Let’s reduce our reliance on the dollars, spit the capitalist tit. Let’s share our gear to reduce freight costs, let’s open the doors of the training and rehearsal spaces, let’s make traditional marketing redundant by telling everyone we know about the work that’s being put on. And let’s go to each others shows and buy a ticket!

To Mitch Fifield, Federal Minister for the Arts

What are you doing Mitch Fifield? What are you doing about the devastation brought about by the erosion of funds from the Australia Council that is available to the small to medium sector, that engine of creativity and innovation, that hothouse of educators and initiators who keep our society glued together? Catalyst isn’t it Mitch! Catalyst has already proven that it kowtows to the rich, white tastes of the lobbyists and loveys who already have the ears of your government. Who like the stuff that’s already quarantined from cuts through the MPAB. Our culture isn’t just a symphony orchestra, a ballet and theatre company in every capital city (unless it’s Hobart or Darwin). Our culture is kept alive by the dreams, the passion and the energy of artists who are already willing to work for very little reward. You’ve broken it Mitch Fifield, and you too Malcolm Turnbull! Now what are you going to do to fix it?