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Katie Noonan Puts Pressure On Malcolm Turnbull About Arts Funding

Noonan Turnbull

If you’ve turned on a radio or TV, or painfully loaded the non-NBN internet in the last few weeks, you may have noticed that there is something about a Federal election happening. That means your biggest celeb crushes are hitting the hustings to get their parties’ platforms to the people who are going to tick boxes with pencil (because not every Australian adult earned their pen license).

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took to the be-all-and-end-all of Australian political forums, the ABC’s ‘Q & A’ program, and was hit with a pretty tough questioning from Brisbane singer and the Artistic Director of the Queensland Music Festival Katie Noonan about arts funding.

“I truly believe the arts have the power to unify and heal our nation like nothing else can,” began Noonan, asking if the PM agreed with her statement.

“The arts are at the heart of creative industries and in Australia the music industry alone employs 65,000 people. In the last three years, the coalition has cut an estimated $300 million from artists and arts organisations,” Noonan continued.

“With your government stating that ‘creativity is key to innovation’, and that ‘jobs and growth’ are critical to the future of this country, will you, as our leader, commit to funding a strong, completely independent Australia Council for the arts?”

In his response, Turnbull began discussing the Australia Council for the Arts, which, in the current form, as formulated by former Minister for the Arts George Brandis, comes under the Government’s Catalyst funding program. However, Noonan was quick to remind Turnbull that she was referring to a hypothetical completely independent Australia Council.

Mr Turnbull then went on to point out that most of the funding has been redirected towards regional companies who feel like they have missed out on funding in previous rounds, and that the current Arts Minister, Mitch Fifield has not been political in his funding allocations.

Ultimately avoiding giving a straight answer, Turnbull largely passed the blame for the state of the Australia Council to the previous Abbott government and Brandis’ former Arts Ministry.

The state of the Australia Council’s funding under the catalyst program has been a point of contention in recent months, as Sounds Australia, the body tasked with helping Australian artists to export their music overseas, missed out on crucial funding. This could hurt artists who have been building audiences overseas.

Speaking with AAA Backstage earlier this year, Tim Price of Collision Course PR said “at a time when I was not as confident as a music industry worker as I am now, they [Sounds Australia] made me feel at home and made so much time for me”. Price went on to state that Sounds Australia helped him to be able to navigate overseas markets as he was starting out.

Read more of what Brisbane’s industry professionals had to say on the Sounds Australia Funding Cuts HERE

Click HERE to watch the exchange between Noonan and Turnbull or watch Katie Noonan’s great Sia cove below!

Written by Max Higgins