State Government arts funding cuts of more than $8.5m have been foreshadowed in South Australia over the next three years. Rainer Jozeps, who was chief executive of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2010, has spoken out about the cuts which are believed will be contained in the next State budget in June.
The impact “will be crippling” on arts agencies, Jozeps said. Amongst the cuts is “a confirmed hit of $949,000 for the 2017 Adelaide Festival of Arts”, according to The Advertiser’s Richard Evans.
If the same scale of cuts were to happen to the State’s health or education budgets, “there would be street riots,” Jozeps says. Fear has silenced those who will be affected, he adds: “Arts organisations are afraid to speak out against proposed funding cuts, no-one wants to bite the hand that feeds them”.
In February, he wrote a fierce-toned opinion piece criticising the Weatherill Government for its lack of vision and support for the arts.
The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and State Opera of SA are unlikely to be affected by the impending cuts, because they are funded through multi-lateral state national arrangements. However, the situation is much less sure for many small to medium entities that are currently funding through the State Government’s arts division, Arts South Australia. These include the Australian String Quartet, Adelaide Chamber Singers, Zephyr Quartet and Chamber Music Adelaide, an umbrella organisation encompassing seven other ensembles – see the full list here.
Arts Minister Jack Snelling has neither confirmed nor denied the $8.5m figure, but Evans quotes him as saying, “We are working with all of our organisations and festivals that we fund as to what impact that may have”.
Early last year Premier Jay Weatherill announced a major upgrade of $90M to the Adelaide Festival Centre, but this will consist mainly of structural and facade improvements.