14/02/2014 - 09:50

Kulcha closes after funding woes

14/02/2014 - 09:50


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Kulcha closes after funding woes
Kulcha chief executive Jon Cope

Western Australia’s voice for multicultural arts has announced it can no longer survive after having funding withdrawn by the state government - a claim which Minister for Planning, Culture and the Arts John Day has denied is true.

Not-for-profit organisation Multicultural Arts of Western Australia, known as Kulcha, is to wind up its operations after 30 years.

Chief executive Jon Cope has sent a letter to members informing them all upcoming events would be cancelled, effectively immediately, including the nationally broadcast Oz Concert 2014 planned for March.

He said the search for financial support had become increasingly difficult and the state government had deserted the organisation - going so far as to withdraw funding already approved.

“In January, the state government declined to assist Kulcha financially to achieve its recapitalisation target of $150,000-$200,000 in a proposal considered by John Day MLA, Minister for Planning, Culture and the Arts,” the letter reads.

“The Office of Multicultural Interests has also declined to support Kulcha’s grant applications in 2013.”

The dire financial situation lead Kulcha to then seek advice on its solvency position, which prompted the Department of Culture and the Arts to withdraw its funding, Mr Cope said.

However Mr Day has rejected the assertion the state government is responsible for Kulcha's wind up.

"It is important to note that State Government funding is not provided as the sole source of income for any organisation; funding is intended to provide a base from which organisations can generate additional income to support their independently planned program of activities," he said.

"Kulcha is an independent organisation and financial management decisions are the Board’s sole responsibility.

"The State Government has provided support to Kulcha since 1985 and there has been no cuts to organisational funding in 2014. In fact, Kulcha’s 2014 funding allocation is 4 per cent higher than in 2012."

Mr Day said the department was now considering how best to reallocate the more than $180,000 annual funding Kulcha received to provide value for taxpayers. 

Mr Cope said it was a sad outcome for Kulcha, especially since WA was one of the most multicultural states in Australia.

Kulcha was founded in 1983 as a not-for-profit member-based organisation and has sought to further multicultural artists in the state.

Its activities included a range of community-based events and classes as well as Oz Concert - a free concert celebrating Australia’s cultural diversity.

Chamber of Arts and Culture Western Australia executive director Henry Boston said the closure was a sad loss for the culture and diversity of the state.

"The chamber is keen to hear how this significant gap in cultural services will be addressed by the state government, not just through its arts funding body but through the Office of Multicultural Interests if it - the government - is serious about investing in the creative potential of all Western Australians," Mr Boston said.

He said it should be a reminder that many arts orgnaisations are leading a hand-to-mouth existence.



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