Today, ABC Journalist Michaela Boland released her article ‘Arts Minister redirected funds to ‘special project’ as groups missed out…’ citing freedom of information material uncovered in her investigation into the ‘poorest funding rounds in history’ (NAVA Media Release).
Theatre Network NSW’s (TNN) Executive Director, Jane Kreis, was interviewed as part of Boland’s story which will be aired on tonight’s ABC 7pm news. The initial online story was published this morning and is being widely circulated through the arts sector.
Stakeholders are expressing their shock and anger that money would be taken from such an important yet already small pool of funding in a period where funding stability has been reaching crisis point.
In June members of the NSW Theatre Producers Advisory Group* confirmed with TNN that:
The lack of transparency and delay in funding announcements has impacted planning, generated considerable stress and caused damage to the careers, livelihoods, and cultural output along the entire industry chain: from companies, to individual artists, to our sector partners, and to our audiences and communities. Ultimately, we are deeply concerned about the damage this has our state’s cultural capital and credibility.
In July TNN was one of the many NSW arts organisations that signed NAVA’s media release on the arts funding round in question in ABC’s current story.
Theatre Network NSW is the peak agency for theatre in NSW and is supported by the NSW Government by Create NSW. TNN works closely with Create NSW as well as sister arts agencies within its mission to build capacity in the NSW theatre sector with a particular focus on the independent and small to medium.
Yesterday, in interview with the ABC on this issue Theatre Network NSW spoke to:
- the shock and breach of trust the FOI revelations brought about in the community;
- the sector’s continued request for transparency and clear demarkation of funds so that the sector can plan and operate with confidence;
- the impact the loss of these funds and the delay in announcements has had on those who missed out – most of whom work within the independent and small to medium arts sector;
- the longer-term impact the funding would also have had on the careers of the artists involved as well as the broader ecology of the arts across our state and, ultimately, back to their audiences and communities;
- the large amount of leveraged funding and resources that our sector are able to develop when these types of funds are successfully delivered;
- the ongoing support to the NSW government that TNN and many of our sister agencies have pledged to bring about an increase in arts funding in NSW. An increase in the overall arts budget would ensure that the hard and soft infrastructure needs across all tiers of our sector are appropriately funded and avoid future situations like those revealed by ABC today.
“TNN’s support to the industry is invaluable and much needed. Its events and advocacy are relevant, and it effectively communicates the important news and issues for our community,” says TNN Member and Independent Producer Katy Green Loughrey.
* TNN’s NSW Theatre Producers Advisory Group includes: Sydney Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, Belvoir, Urban Theatre Projects, Critical Stages, Monkey Baa, Australian Theatre for Young People, Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, NORPA, PYT Fairfield, Casula Powerhouse, Hothouse, Moogahlin, Performing Lines, Performance Space, Bell Shakespeare, National Theatre of Parramatta, Contemporary Asian Australian Performance, Red Line, Darlinghurst Theatre, Sport for Jove, Merrigong, Force Majeure, PACT, Playwriting Australia, Arts On Tour NSW and Independent Producers.