Artwork in the 2010 Biennale of Sydney
Artwork in the 2010 Biennale of Sydney

Funds will be cut if arts groups reject reasonable sponsors

ARTS groups that reject corporate funds or sponsorships on "unreasonable grounds" will not get funding from the Abbott government, Arts Minister Senator George Brandis has said.

Sen Brandis, also the Attorney-General, has written to the independent Australia Council requesting the policy change after the Sydney Biennale rejected funds from Transfield.

The rejection by Sydney's major arts festival was made after several artists threatened a boycott on the grounds the company's subsidiary had new contracts to deliver detention centre services on Manus Island.

Sen Brandis said the festival's organisers were "spineless" in caving in to such demands, alleging a conflict in the festival accepting government funds, but not money from a corporation undertaking services funded by the government.

While Sen Brandis noted the "arms-length" nature of the government's relationship with the Australia Council, he told 2GB Radio he wrote to the council on Wednesday requesting the policy change.

He said the policy would create a "standard requirement" in arts funding agreements across the country that if a grant recipient "unreasonably refuses private philanthropy" or terminates a private current funding agreement; it would also forfeit taxpayer's money as well.


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