Last week, the Federal Government announced their decision to axe the Department of Arts, as part of Scott Morrison’s plan to cut the number of federal departments from 18 to 14 to “bust bureaucratic congestion”.
On The Sunday Project, comedian, director and musician Tim Minchin condemned the Prime Minister’s move, labeling it as “really scary”.
“It is in an indicator that they don’t think it’s important, obviously,” Minchin told the panel.
“I have no doubt that they don’t have any understanding of the financial, cultural and trickle down value of arts in this country.”
Watch: Tim Minchin on The Sunday Project talks about Scott Morrison’s plan to axe the Department of Arts. Post continues below.
The arts department will be merged with infrastructure, under the new name Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications – meaning the same department dealing with arts will also be dealing with roads. The departure of arts has sparked nationwide concern that significant cuts to the sector will follow.
“Honestly, the difference between a good, functioning democracy and not is art,” Minchin continued.
He added that it is “very hard to measure the impact of a well-funded arts culture, and when it’s not easy to measure, people like this government just are not interested.”
Mamamia’s daily entertainment podcast The Spill did a special bonus episode with Tim Minchin this week talking about his new show Upright. Post continues below audio.
The Prime Minister has not yet communicated how the new portfolio will impact funding to arts, but this move delivers bleak prospects for their financial future.
And Tim Minchin is not the only person deploring the government’s plan – the arts community have mobilised against the move.
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy said in wake of the merge, “this government’s disdain for the arts has reached a new low”.
“The absence of the word ‘arts’ from the new department’s title says it all.”