A Senate Estimates enquiry yesterday revealed that over $4 million in funding had been denied to ARC Discovery and DECRA grants in the humanities and social sciences after a veto of the projects by then Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham. The rejected grants included two music related projects, including one by IASPM-ANZ members.
‘The academic community should be united in its condemnation of the arbitrary rejection of these grants’, said IASPM-ANZ Chair Dr Catherine Strong. ‘The ARC has a very rigorous process of review for its grant funding, which is considered world-leading. That a Minister can override this process undermines the whole system.’
‘That music-related projects appear to be being targeted as part of this is not only alarming to our members, but makes little sense in light of the government’s own priorities. The music industries contribute billions of dollars to the Australian economy, and music heritage, the subject of one of the rejected grants, is a growth area bringing huge tourist dollars and community benefit around the world. The rejection of a project like this demonstrates how unsuitable it is for a non-expert like the Minister to be making these calls.’
‘We hope the government will revisit its approach to this funding, and call on them to reinstate funding for these particular grants.’
Media enquirers: Catherine Strong 0404604544