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Media Release - Equity or at least Equality for Artists with Disability

10 May 2016


For Immediate Release    


Equity or at least Equality for Artists with Disability


Arts Access Australia, the national body for arts and disability, is calling for certainty and equality for artists with disability as the election campaign kicks off. Following recent funding announcements and the release of the Federal budget last week, Arts Access Australia is calling for policies which support the equity, development and employment of artists with disability.

Arts Access Australia CEO, Emma Bennison, said that whilst the arts emerged from the budget relatively unscathed in comparison to recent years, there are some broader implications for artists with disability which need to be monitored.

“The introduction of a new NDIS Savings Fund is welcomed by Arts Access Australia to provide certainty for the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. However, the intention to review the Disability Support Pension for 90,000 people over three years is concerning to us. In particular, the appearance that those most at risk of becoming ineligible for welfare payments will be the target of this review. We know that artists with disability are vulnerable when it comes to the Disability Support Pension, given the nature of employment in the arts and cultural sector is sporadic and unpredictable. We will monitor the implementation of this policy and advocate for the rights of artists with disability to receive adequate income support whilst maintaining their artistic careers.”

“We also welcome the new $96.1 million program “Try, Test and Learn” announced to support innovative approaches to finding work for young people. Whilst we strongly support any initiative to increase employment opportunities, we are hopeful that the arts and cultural sector will be recognised by the Government as an industry which has plenty to offer to the innovation agenda. We also remain hopeful that this initiative will be accompanied by a jobs plan which supports meaningful employment of people with disability.”

Bennison says the story in relation to Federal funding for arts and disability is mixed this week with funding rounds for the Ministry for the Arts’ Catalyst fund and Australia Council project funding being announced. “Having done everything we can to ensure disability-led projects and those which build the capacity of the arts and disability sector could be competitive for funding, we are disappointed to note that with half of the Catalyst funding allocation having been committed, just over six per cent of Catalyst funded projects are to provide improved participation to artists with disability or access to the arts by people with disability. This figure is disappointing considering that just over 20% of our population are people with disability. Whilst we sincerely congratulate those organisations who have been funded and look forward to working with them in our capacity as the national peak body for arts and disability, it appears that none of the funded programs have an aim to build the national capacity of the arts and disability sector as a whole, something we all know is desperately needed. Finally, we are worried and somewhat confused that over a quarter of this six per cent funding allocation flowed to organisations with little or no history of working in the arts and disability sector. We look forward to seeing these issues addressed in future funding rounds.”

The Australia Council has maintained its commitment to national, dedicated funding for artists with disability this week, announcing the second allocation of $330,000 in funding to 16 projects for individuals and groups. Arts Access Australia congratulates the Australia Council for this ongoing commitment to disability-led projects. We look forward to it continuing, given the quality of outcomes and ongoing need which has been so clearly demonstrated through these funding rounds.


Media Contact: Emma Bennison

Ph: 0419 201 338



To download this media release click here.

AGM Invitation and Call for Nominations

Arts Access Australia will be holding it’s AGM in Adelaide this year on Thursday 26th May. Please find following the links for the notification of the AGM, together with the Board nomination form and also the proxy nomination form.

Meeting Place is also being held in Adelaide on Friday 27th May 2016. There are only few places still available so to reserve your place please email Louise at .

Arts Access Australia team up with Google

Here at Arts Access Australia (AAA), we're excited to announce that we've teamed up with Google Australia’s Creative Lab to create an Artist in Residence pilot project. One artist with disability will spend three months inside Google, exploring the people, the workplace and the technology.

Read more: Arts Access Australia team up with Google

Have Your Say on Changes to Federal Arts Funding

Artists and arts workers with disability and arts and disability organisations are concerned about changes to Federal arts funding announced in the 2015 budget

In May this year, the Federal Government cut $104.8 million from The Australia Council to go towards a new National Programme for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA), to be managed by the staff of the Ministry for the Arts.

The cuts will have significant implications for artists with disability and the organisations which eenable access to the arts across Australia. So the issue has been referred to a Senate Inquiry. across Australia, and the issue has been referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for a Senate inquiry.

To make sure the voices of our sector are heard, we need you to make a submission to the Senate Inquiry by Friday 17 July 2015.

Read more: Have Your Say on Changes to Federal Arts Funding

Reasonable and Necessary - thinking big!

Arts Access Australia (AAA) have partnered with Access2Arts in SA to create 'Reasonable and Necessary', a project aimed at encouraging people to think big about their goals and their futures, and providing a fun and creative way for people to share these goals with planning teams at the NDIS.

Read more: Reasonable and Necessary - thinking big!

EOFY Campaign: The End is also the Beginning

So it's nearly the end of the financial year. And it's also nearly the end of Adam Yu's epic 3,000km run across Europe. Yes, he has run nearly 3,000km in a few short months. So now the question isn't so much, will he make it? But rather, what has he started?!

Read more: EOFY Campaign: The End is also the Beginning

Forget self-protection and ‘sleep on it’: Emma Bennison’s advice to young leaders

First published in Women's Agenda on 7/4/2015

We asked a number of leading women who are speaking at the upcoming She Leads conference what they'd like younger women to know about navigating the career in front of them. Below, singer-songwriter and Co-CEO of Arts Access Australia, Emma Bennison, shares her advice. 

Read more: Forget self-protection and ‘sleep on it’: Emma Bennison’s advice to young leaders

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What we've been Tweeting about ...

ArtsAccessAust The internet is celebrating this 6-year-old's powerful response to someone calling her brother 'weird' via @mashable
ArtsAccessAust 14 empowering hashtags for people to celebrate their disabilities online via @mashable
ArtsAccessAust NFP CEO Named Victorian Telstra Business Woman of the Year via @probononews
ArtsAccessAust RT @AccEase: Thanks @ArtsAccessNZ for a great networking #artsacess forum. & meeting with Emma from @ArtsAccessAust.
ArtsAccessAust RT @ArtsAccessNZ: Claire introduces Emma Bennison @ArtsAccessAust, speaking on disability leadership & employment. Great stuff 4 Welly #Art