Tarts (Trouble in the Arts)


Sheet music

The arts in Australia are in trouble. As government seeks to reduce huge national and state debts, the funding for the arts continues to remain a hot topic and easy target. The director of Opera Australia Lyndon Terracini has told the Australian that, the company has not had its funding confirmed from the Queensland state government for its upcoming 2013 season.

But not surprisingly, funding has been reduced over the last decade. Funding by all three levels of government was estimated at $405.9 million in the 2009-2010 financial year. This was a decrease from $701.3 million in 1998-1999.

The nearly halving of government contributions to the Arts in Australia leaves an out of tune note in the ears of many working in the industry. The question of why the government continues to reduce funding needs an answer as funding levels are now below where they were in 1991.

Now that idea sounds like music to the ears

In Melbourne, we have seen many of the music schools across the city close their doors. Since 2001, we have seen La Trobe University close its music school, the Melba conservatorium cease to operate (This was the first conservatorium in Melbourne), ACU (Australian Catholic University)conservatorium of music shut its doors, and the VCA (Victorian College of the Arts) amalgamate with the University of Melbourne.

The relatively recent trend of the last decade to close schools and reduce funding is not unique to the arts. The recent round of budget cuts to the TAFE by Victorian premier Ted Baillieu illustrates this fact. It seems that, governments in Australia (both state and commonwealth) do not value the arts as much as their own salaries.

The nearly halving of government contributions to the Arts in Australia leaves an out of tune note in the ears of many.

But, what will our children have to appreciate when there are no more art schools, no more artists, and limited creative thought? If the current cuts continue, we are facing a cultural wasteland by around the 2030s.

What’s the solution? Increase arts funding! Art enriches the lives of those who experience it. Whether it’s classical music or a fringe festival, people feel more fulfilled when they have something to experience and participate in.  Now that idea sounds like music to the ears. Perhaps even in the key of Aflatmajor.com

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