In the week this paper went to press Malcolm Turnbull overturned the incumbent Prime Minister Tony Abbott and appointed Senator Mitch Fifield as Minister for Communication and the Arts. Now we wait to see if this new leadership will overturn the hasty decision by former minister George Brandis to seize more than $120 million from the Australia Council arts budget and place it under his own control. This paper shows how this ill-conceived action has exposed the fragility of our national arts funding, and highlights the urgent need for change.
Cathy Hunt argues the need for system-level changes to build sector resilience and enable the excellence called for to be achieved. This must include introducing a new funding framework with government and the philanthropic sector working together, new business models and new forms of financing to get there. Her findings are surprising.