Defunding Writing NSW is the final blow in Austral...

Defunding Writing NSW is the final blow in Australia’s war against the arts

Writing NSW is at threat for closure after state government rejected a vital funding grant last week leaving the not-for-profit scrambling to save thousands of writing jobs.

The decision comes after Writing NSW applied for a local government multi-year grant covering activities such as the creation of new works, exhibitions, publishing, and the promotion and marketing of art.

Writing NSW CEO Jane McCredie said the organisation, a critical resource for writers during the pandemic, has been jeopardised following the state government’s decision.

“To date, we have maintained our support for writers throughout the pandemic, rolling out an extensive range of online courses, events, and networking opportunities to keep writers working and connected,” she said.

“Now all this is at risk.”

Writing NSW is only one of the latest hits against the arts, which reaches back to the Howard government eliminating funding for Aboriginal art centres in the Northern Territory in 2006.

More recent is the Morrison government’s restructuring of university fees, meaning STEM subjects would pay 62% less in student contributions, while the humanities would increase by 113%.

The government’s inaction to support artists impacts 194,000 Australians employed in the sector while damaging the economy as the creative arts contribute over $14 billion to Gross Domestic Product.

While Writing NSW faces an uncertain future, it’s clear support for Australian arts will diminish during COVID as many organisations are struggling.

“Organisations across the arts are already stretched to breaking point,” said Writing NSW Chair Joel Naoum.

“It’s devastating to see the state’s main support organisation for writers, and the literature section defunded.”

“It is truly unconscionable at a time when a significant proportion of our population is confined to home.”

To support Writing NSW, follow the hashtag #SaveWritingNSW or write to the Minister for the Arts, Honourable Don Harwin: [email protected].

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