Politicians get involved in battle to save arts group
CONCERNS for the future of Crossroad Arts are mounting and now the politicians are getting involved.
On Saturday the Daily Mercury revealed how a reallocation of federal funding had left the small arts group facing closure by September.
Artistic director Steve Mayer-Miller yesterday met Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert to discuss options to keep them going.
Mrs Gilbert said the meeting was "just the start of the battle".
"It's extremely important to keep our art group functioning especially when they reach out to people who would normally not have an avenue to experience the arts in their life and be able to reach their full potential whether they have a disability or not," she said.
"There needs to be that opportunity for all people who have got the capacity or the drive or the desire to engage in the arts to have that opportunity to enrich their lives.
"When people's lives are enriched their contribution back to the community is huge."
Crossroad Arts has been active in Mackay for 17 years, working with a variety of groups including disabled, aged care and indigenous.
Funding for the arts group has previously come from federal, state and local governments - but this year federal funding from arts funding and advisory body Australia Council has been put on hold.
An Australia Council representative said $110million would be redirected over four years from their budget to support the establishment of the National Program for Excellence in the Arts, run by the Ministry for the Arts.
"While funding for the Federal Government's regional touring and festivals programs are unaffected, the amount of money available for our core grants programs has reduced significantly, which resulted in the need to cancel our forecasted June grant round, which Crossroad Arts referred to," the representative said.
Another concern for Crossroad Arts was the suspension of Australia Council's six-year funding for organisations.
Federal member for Dawson George Christensen said he was not previously aware regional arts groups would be impacted by the federal government decision but he would be gathering the facts about the issue.
He said he was concerned Australia Council was using the federal budget as an excuse to not award funding to arts groups.
Mrs Gilbert said concerned Mackay residents should contact Mr Christensen and ask him to lobby on behalf of Crossroad Arts in Parliament to ensure their funding was maintained or even increased.
OTHER STORIES MAKING NEWS IN THE REGION: