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February 4, 2023

Arts funding ‘hoax’: $100m promise down to $25m a year

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Shadow Arts Minister Walt Secord. Photo AAP Image/Mark Graham
Shadow Arts Minister Walt Secord. Photo AAP Image/Mark Graham

The Opposition has damned the NSW Government’s regional arts funding promise as ‘another cruel hoax’ after it was revealed a $100 million in grant funding promised earlier in the year only converts to a quarter of that figure per anum.

NSW Labor says the ‘fine print’ of the long awaited regional cultural fund shows ‘a mere $25 million spread across rural and regional communities’ this year.

NSW Shadow Arts Minister Walt Secord described the so-called Regional Cultural Fund earmarked for rural and regional NSW arts organisations as ‘pitiful’ compared to the ‘$600 million being spent in Sydney’s CBD.’

He likened it to other areas of government expenditure, where he said, ‘all of the funding is going to Sydney – with country areas fighting over a miniscule funding pool.’

In the June budget, the NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin boasted that they were providing $100 million in funding for regional and rural art galleries, museums and community halls.

But yesterday arts bureaucrats sent an email to organisations revealing that the amount available in 2017-18 is only $25 million.

The amount was revealed in a call for applications by State Government’s Create NSW.

Mr Secord said in response, that ‘the state Liberal-National government boasted that rural and regional communities would get their fair share; today, we see otherwise.

‘Sydney’s major cultural institutions receive more than $600 million, but rural and regional NSW only gets $25 million.

‘Once again, rural and regional areas are forced to fight over the scraps.

Mr Secord added the detail further penalised community groups in that they were ‘not allowed to apply for funding for staff or on-going operational expenditure.’

‘Sadly under the Nationals, rural and regional families are not getting their fair share from the state government; and this needs to change.

‘There was much excitement about the fund, but that has turned to disappointment,’ he said.

Applications for the Regional Cultural Fund are open until September 4.


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