State arts sec­tor at risk, says Cham­ber

North Coast Times - - OPINION -

THE Cham­ber of Arts and Cul­ture WA has be­gun a six-week cam­paign to high­light the value of the cre­ative sec­tor.

The ‘Art Im­proves Lives’ cam­paign wants to shine a spot­light on the positive con­tri­bu­tion the arts make to the lives of West Aus­tralians, and lobby the Gov­ern­ment to in­crease in­vest­ment in the field.

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Cham­ber Henry Bos­ton said the arts are in danger un­less there is more fund­ing.

“We have called for an elec­tion com­mit­ment from all po­lit­i­cal par­ties to stop the fund­ing cuts and to pledge at least an in­crease of $100 mil­lion over four years to re­vive the sec­tor and en­sure the con­tin­u­a­tion and ex­pan­sion of com­mu­nity pro­grams,” he said.

“The im­pact of con­tin­u­ing cuts to the arts bud­get has al­ready been felt across the sec­tor, and it won’t be long be­fore it be­gins to im­pact on the State’s bot­tom line.

“The sec­tor con­trib­utes $10.6 bil­lion to the State econ­omy and em­ploys over 42,000 peo­ple but re­duced in­vest­ment is driv­ing job losses across the in­dus­try.”

Cham­ber mem­ber RTRFM 92.1 is for the ini­tia­tive.

RTR Gen­eral Man­ager Stu Ma­cLeod, whose band Eskimo Joe is one of WA’s most suc­cess­ful mu­si­cal ex­ports, said in­vest­ment in the arts was of para­mount im­por­tance.

“The arts mat­ter in any state, in any coun­try, in any so­ci­ety,” Mr Ma­cLeod said.

“We are con­stantly told that our world is in danger; that we are fight­ing a war with these peo­ple, with those peo­ple, a war on ter­ror, a war on drugs… artists pro­vide us with a respite from all this.

“It’s im­por­tant that the arts are sup­ported by the State Gov­ern­ment be­cause for far too long now, it seems it’s taken the arts for granted.

“In an in­dus­try with an ever-shrink­ing pool of funds, there is only so much that artists can do to sur­vive while cre­at­ing their art.

“I shud­der to think of what Perth would be with­out its arts in­dus­try and with­out in­de­pen­dent arts or­gan­i­sa­tions like RTRFM.”

Visit www.cacwa.org.au for more on the cam­paign.

RTR Gen­eral Man­ager and Eskimo Joe guitarist Stu Ma­cLeod.

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