By the Blouin News World staff

Australia’s arts in spotlight amid controversial funding cuts

by in Asia-Pacific.

An Australian dancer. (Source: Matthew Kenwrick/flickr)

An Australian dancer. (Source: Matthew Kenwrick/flickr)

It’s been called “the worst week ever for Australian arts.” As part of larger budget cuts, the Australia Council (the main federal grant-funding body for the arts) has some $16.7 million less to give out in 2015-16. And this lower level is being factored in to the Council’s multi-year funding plans as well.  Having discontinued 6-year grants, on Friday the Council officially announced the results of its “Four Year Funding” program, awarding a total of approximately $20 million per year to 128 arts organizations. But that was less than half of total applicants, and the arts community is furious.

The government is trying to put the most positive spin on the news. It boasted that the average Four Year Funding level is $219,000, compared with $157,000 under the previous programs, and that Aboriginal organizations were heavily represented. It also stated “No organisations have been cut or defunded. The current cohort of small to medium organisations have contracts until December 2016 and would always have had to apply in a competitive environment for the next round of multi-year organisational funding.”

Still, for the groups whose funding will not be renewed as of January 1, 2017, this is…

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