Three days ahead of the Adelaide Festival’s opening night and Arts Minister Jack Snelling today confirmed in Parliament that the Festival faces a severe $1 million funding cut in coming years.
Reports of the $1 million cut were initially rejected last week by Arts SA boss Peter Louca, but statements today by Adelaide Festival representatives confirming the imminent cut were backed up by Minister Snelling’s answers to questions from Shadow Minister for the Arts, John Gardner:
Mr Gardner: “My question is to the Minister for the Arts. Is the government cutting the Adelaide Festival's funding by $1 million or not?”
Mr Snelling: “Obviously the arts has a savings task and we are going through, or the department, the Office for the Arts is going through the process of how we will achieve those savings.”
When asked if the new directors of the Adelaide Festival had been told “that their budget has been cut by $1 million”, Minister Snelling went on to admit that:
“…it would have been made clear to them about what expectations might be with regard to the funding of the festival. It would be unfair on them to take on the job without a realistic appreciation of what the future budgets might be. So I wouldn’t be surprised if a discussion had been had with them along those lines…”
“It’s sad to see the Weatherill Labor Government undermining one of South Australia’s premier festivals, just days before we will be celebrating its launch,” said Shadow Minister for the Arts John Gardner.
“Over the years, tens of thousands of artists have presented their work at the Adelaide Festival.
“It is one of the most famous and well-regarded cultural events in Australia, and one of the world’s major celebrations of the arts.
“The Festival of Arts is also a significant tourist drawcard and brings a number of flow-on economic benefits to the South Australian economy.
“The Government has a duty to reassure the South Australian community that they are not putting these benefits at risk by reducing the size and scope of the Festival.
“The Festival has been an integral part of Adelaide’s arts scene for almost 60 years, and includes Adelaide Writers Week and the WOMADelaide world music festival.”