This came through from the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council earlier this month:
The Australia Council is hosting discussion sessions across the country about the futures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts to realise a culturally ambitious nation. Australia Council Executive Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts, Lydia Miller is inviting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and cultural leaders to attend one of the sessions to contribute to the national discussion.
One of our goals, Ms Miller said, is that Australians cherish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultures and we want input from Indigenous artists and cultural leaders to help shape and realise that goal. We want to start a conversation about Indigenous cultures, arts and artists and what is important to these communities.
These sessions are the second round of discussions we’ve had with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and cultural leaders this year and we want to reach as many people as possible. We have already held forums in Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Adelaide, Alice, Brisbane. Hobart, Launceston, Canberra and Perth. Now, the discussion sessions begin in Broken Hill on Tuesday, 12 May.
They will continue through May and June in Dubbo, Cairns, Lismore, Grafton, Armidale, Townsville, Mount Isa, Mackay, Shepparton, Ceduna, Whyalla, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Geraldton, Kununurra and Katherine.
But then came the post-Budget post-script:
We will be postponing the regional roadshow sessions due to the recent 2015-16 federal budget announcement on Tuesday 12 May by the Australian Government in relation to Australia Council funding (removing $110 million to be administered directly by the Minister and his public servants in Canberra). The announcement made last week as part of the 2015-16 federal budget was unexpected and has significant implications. We are currently working through exactly what the impact will be.
Our Board and Executive are giving immediate and careful consideration to which programs and initiatives we are able to continue delivering with funding that does not sit within existing government directed programs, and which programs will need to be suspended as a result of funding being redirected to the Ministry for the Arts. While that process is underway, these roadshows will be postponed until we have further information to share.
The Australia Council continues to be a committed advocate for Australian arts, leveraging the deep expertise and knowledge developed through a 40+ history of delivering arts support to build markets and audiences for Australian work.