Myer Inquiry: first the good news
The Federal budget speech (normally not compulsive viewing for artists) was never so closely watched by so many artists as it was on 13 May this year. The question was: would the Myer Inquiry recommendations get up? (see Artrave V23#1 March) Rupert Myer had asked that $15m extra per annum be allocated from Federal and State govts jointly to the visual arts/craft sector, starved for a decade. Not surprisingly the Treasurer's response did not make the speech, but it did appear in the budget document, albeit in a distinctly trimmed down and stretched out version. $19.5m has been allocated, but over 4 years, some of which is contingent on matching funds from the States. In a budget which offered little to the society at large the visual arts have to take this offer as a sign that the government recognises starvation has serious consequences, which are often irreversible. At least some of the recommended changes to legislation involving Indigenous moral rights issues, resale royalties, and an income tax reform which will lift the $40,000 cap on artists' earnings in relation to art-related deductions are expected to get up; NAVA is keeping up the pressure on government to find acceptable solutions to these complex issues and it is important for all in the sector to stay informed and active while these issues are on the radar.