The following letter by Council CEO Jennifer Bott was published by The Advertiser on 22 December 2005.
‘ “Revenge and power” not our motives’
From Tim Lloyd’s article “Revenge and power the real reasons for boards’ demise” (The Advertiser, 14/12/04), readers may think the Australia Council’s goal is to run down Australia’s arts and build up its own bureaucracy.
What we are proposing is the opposite. Lloyd’s report also contains serious inaccuracies.
Six months ago, the council began a reform process; any large publicly funded organisation needs to do this regularly if it is to remain effective and relevant.
“Revenge and power” have nothing to do with it. To suggest, as Lloyd has, that these changes were developed in secret makes for drama, but is incorrect.
Our taskforce consulted extensively with Australia Council staff, and the planned changes are now before the public and the arts community for comment.
Tim Lloyd argues of the planned dissolution of the Community Cultural Development Board and the New Media Arts Board that “without advocacy and support, they are likely to wither on the vine”.
None of our planning or public comments suggests any such outcome. We have stated that both areas will be fully supported and funding maintained at present levels, with extra funding available through a more focused approach for our strategic initiatives.
We have every intention of retaining and even expanding our expertise in these vital areas.
Lloyd asserts that “all the money saved will be redirected elsewhere in the administration rather than given to artists”. This is simply not true. The new structure and the old structure cost the same.