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MORE QUESTIONS: Warwick Hemsley and many others at the Chamber of Arts and Culture event were disappointed at the lack of clear policy detail from the major political parties. Photo: Bohdan Warchomij

Arts left behind in election race

OF all the issues likely to feature prominently in the lead-up to the March 9 state election, it’s perhaps no surprise the arts is a long way down the list.

In fact, just a couple of days from the poll, very few commitments to the arts have been made by either major party.

The Chamber of Arts and Culture WA hosted an arts debate less than two weeks before the polling date and invited representatives from the Liberals, Labor, Greens and Nationals to speak.

The chamber’s chairman, Warwick Hemsley, was disappointed with the outcome of the debate, as were many from the arts community in attendance.

“There were encouraging comments from all participants acknowledging the importance of arts and culture in our community - but where are the policies from Labor and Liberals detailing specific commitments and pledges?” Mr Hemsley said.

Following the debate, the chamber released a statement urging each party to announce its arts policy.

As of the evening of Tuesday March 5, when WA Business News went to press, the chamber’s request for policy detail remained unsatisfied.

Indexation, the adjustment of funding according to inflation, was among the issues raised at the debate, although current for Culture and Arts Minister John Day refused to be drawn on making a specific commitment.

“I can’t commit to a specific quantum here because it is something that has to be written into the forward estimates, but it is definitely something that I will continue to argue for,” Mr Day said.

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