I am curious about some statements you made recently to explain you reallocating arts funding to the new 'National Program for Excellence in the Arts'. You said that artists need to consider the tastes of their market, with the implication that many artists don't, especially independent ones, who will be most affected by these changes.
First of all, I would like to know what the statistics are you are referring to in terms of bums on seats per funding amount? Ie, how many audience members attend the collective independent works which are funded either directly or indirectly through programs and festivals, compared to how many attend the larger company works which are funded at large amounts, and how does this add up in terms of dollars per audience? I feel quite confident that independent works receive a comparable number of appreciators per investment, especially when you take into consideration publicity budgets and infrastructure. I see a lot of theatre, and I see a lot of audience members with a preference for independent work, so I am curious how you came to this conclusion and what your evidence is.
Secondly, I am curious if you are aware of how expensive tickets to events such as Opera Australia, Australia Ballet and Mainstage theatre are? To suggest that these are the only worthy options for people is immediately exclusive, not just in terms of artistic preference, but also financially.
There is a functioning and active economy based around smaller companies and independent artists. They service not just those with contemporary and explorative tastes but also they service a great many people who otherwise would not be able to see performance because it would be too expensive. Please don't underestimate the market here. It is massive, it is functioning, and it brings great pleasure and joy to the quality of life of the public as well as to the quality of arts in our country. It creates dynamic export where larger MainStage companies do not. Not only this, it is a source of employment for many people.
Please try and understand Senator Brandis, that quality and excellence is a complex issue, especially with the arts. We need to preserve our countries diversity, and accessibility in the arts. This is a key factor in creating a healthy society.