Thursday, 19 May 2016

Responding to the cuts

It's hard to know where to begin to respond to the recent slather of savage cuts to the arts, cultural institutions, the CSIRO ... While there's money aplenty for submarines, locking up asylum-seekers, and ever more commemorating of Anzac-y things.

This article by Paul Daley tackles the issue.

But wait, there's more ...

The focus to date has been largely on the impact of the cuts on small-to-medium companies and organisations, but as Alison Croggon points out in an article in today's Guardian, ‘this has obscured where the real damage is happening. The number of Australia Council grants to individual artists and projects has decreased by a staggering 70% since the 2013/14 financial year.’

This 70% reduction ‘particularly hits artists such as writers and visual artists, who mostly work alone.

And then a fierce, impassioned article from Richard Flanagan. In it, he picks out a particularly revealing (and chilling) quote from the Productivity Commission report:

'The expansion of the books production industries over recent decades has attracted and held productive resources, notably skilled labour and capital, that have thereby been unavailable for use in other industries. The upshot will have been reduced growth in employment and output in other parts of the economy.

… What they are saying is that without the book industry—which is nothing more than a parasite—the economy would be doing far better. We could all be helping the economy doing real work like, well, being unpaid interns for merchant bankers.'

Read the rest of his article here.

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