Ausdance National President Brian Lucas responds to Australia Council funding cuts

Dear Ausdance members,

I am writing to you as the President of Ausdance National, in response to the recent funding cuts to the Australia Council, and the rechanneling of those funds into a new funding mechanism entitled the National Programme for Excellence in the Arts.

I am clearly aware of the substantial levels of anger, confusion, disillusionment and anxiety which currently exist throughout the Arts sector as a result of these cuts and the flow on changes to Australia Council funding processes.

As an independent artist who works in and across many aspects of the Australian Arts ecology, I personally share the anxieties and anger that are a result of seeing the future of our practices, our livelihoods and the continued survival of our fragile economy threatened and undermined.

Like many other organisations in the sector, Ausdance National has devoted substantial time, energy and resources to the development of an Expression of Interest for the Australia Council's new 6 year funding program, and as with many others we now find ourselves in a limbo of unforeseen changes which include the scrapping of that program altogether.

During the past fortnight, responses to these cuts have been varied. It has been incredibly positive to read or hear a number of responses from industry leaders such as Wesley Enoch and Fiona Winning, and to participate in the National dance action across the country on Friday 22nd of May.

As the peak service organisation for the professional dance sector in Australia, I definitely see it as Ausdance's responsibility to work to provide leadership and support during this crisis.

Ausdance National continues to engage its Australia-wide network to ensure the dance community remains informed of and up-to-date with developments in what is shaping up to be one of the most challenging periods in our recent Arts history. These changes will impact across all areas of the dance sector, and it is vital that Ausdance National works to ensure no voices from within the dance sector are excluded from the discussion and debate.

Also, Ausdance National takes its role as the chief advocate for dance at a Federal Government level seriously. We must ensure the concerns and questions of the dance sector are communicated to (and heard by) our Federal Arts Minister, and that they feed effectively into both the current debate and into the ongoing development of policies and procedures. This will be particularly important as the details of the new National Programme for Excellence in the Arts are finalised and released. Now more than ever, the message that dance is and must remain a vital part of the Australian landscape—culturally, socially, educationally and economically—must be heard loud and clear.

These are challenging times, and the obstacles we face are substantial and dauntingly real. It is my hope Ausdance National and the dance sector as a whole can rise to these challenges, and we can work with our State and Territory networks to achieve more positive and effective outcomes for the dance sector.

The Australian dance community has not experienced such a volatile and difficult situation in many years. I want you each to know that Ausdance is here with you in solidarity and support.

Further Reading

News / Blog / Press Releases / Events

Honorary life members add their voices in support of the Australia Council

Ausdance honorary life members write to add their voices to the many letters and statements made in support of the Australia Council. The Australian arts profession has fought hard over many years for the independence and peer review principles embedded in the Australia Council’s charter, and we are now concerned that a commitment to excellence through the peer review process will be compromised as further cuts and conditions are imposed on the smaller organisations by a reduced Australia Council. This decision has the potential to dismantle much of the Australian dance ecology and dissipate the constantly growing audience it has developed over the last decade.