Adrian Barnes

Latest art cuts suck oxygen from industry


Approx Reading Time-10The Turnbull government’s move to gut the tertiary funding of the arts, forcing them to rely solely on universities, is a grave misstep.


“Circus arts, acting and jewellery-making will no longer be eligible for student loans as the federal government focuses on higher education reforms. A number of arts diplomas will no longer be eligible for government subsidies as part of the Turnbull Government’s ongoing reforms of the tertiary sector.” These are the beginnings of Richard Watts’ article published three days ago at

Well here we go. If you’re creative, batten down the hatches; we are in for a big fight! This is an ill-considered attempt to dismantle a very vibrant and productive community – one which has developed some world-renowned training for some world-renowned actors.

What is wrong with these decision makers? Do they not gaze outside the window of Parliament House and see what a creative nation we are?

They hoped, of course, that this would get a tick for saving money. Generations of creative development, in many areas of the creative arts, sliced away without thought or good reason, just to save money because they can’t get the savings elsewhere.

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As trainers of creative artists in all fields, we aren’t bringing in hundreds of thousands of overseas students to teach them English as a second language, badly, and making some very shonky operators very rich! I don’t hear of any cuts being made here. Hundreds of talented actors/educators will lose their jobs, the cost of doing a Cert IV in workplace training to meet government requirements another waste of money. These talented young hopefuls will lose the opportunity to develop their creative abilities so the government can fulfil their need to balance a budget that was, at best, a crude attempt to save face as they didn’t have the wherewithal to manage a comfortable transition from the working Labor policies to their own “greed is still good if the right people make the money” policy.

I’m fighting mad right now; this government is saying we have been ripping off a system that has barely taken any notice of the creative development that has snowballed over the last 20 years. They took the money out of research, they took the money out of renewable energy development, they are attempting to take the money out of education – now they are attempting to curtail the development of independent providers and leave us with only university-based creative training. Fat lot of good that will do. All the focus has gone into maths and science and every university performing arts course is struggling for its existence as the funding is now focused in another direction.

Last year they attempted to rip the funding out of the Government funding bodies.

This year they are attempting to remove their oxygen

Adrian Barnes

Adrian has had a long and varied career in the performing arts. After training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Adrian had a successful career in the West End as an actor/singer/dancer, appearing in such classics as West Side Story, Kiss Me, Kate and Hello Dolly, as well as working with some of the UK’s renowned repertory and Opera companies including The English National Opera, Birmingham Rep., Derby Playhouse and the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Adrian has lived and worked in Australia since 1981, appearing in such TV classics as Young Doctors and Sons and Daughters, the occasional film, The Slipper and the Rose and Thank God He Met Lizzie being his two favourites, and many stage plays and musicals including The Pirates of Penzance – The Broadway Version, Simon Gallagher’s famous ‘Pirates’ Tour, Seven Little Australians: the Musical and most recently the highly successful Australian 60th Anniversary Tour of The Mousetrap. Adrian has directed many plays and musicals, taught various performing arts schools worldwide, and today combines an active performing, teaching and directing career. Adrian can often be found performing some naughty satirical cabaret with his friend and partner Pat. H. Wilson.

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One Comment;

  1. GraemeF said:

    Make the courses free.

    They might not make money but they contribute to society and give the people a sense of worth and achievement. Better than a course that sees your job disappear in a few years and have nothing to show for the narrow band of rote information to suit a cookie cutter job that your piece of paper says you can do.

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