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Australian government examines arts funds

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SYDNEY, Sep 25, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- The Australian government has launched an investigation into arts funding amid a report citing deficits and hiring problems at two orchestras.

Arts Minister Rod Kemp announced the investigation Saturday into funding of the Sydney-based Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and Melbourne's Orchestra Victoria, the Australian reported Sunday.

The report, conducted by businessman James Strong, recommended urgent and separate reviews of the orchestras, the newspaper said.

The Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra is operating under a $1.2 million deficit while the Orchestra Victoria says it is losing musicians to other musical groups which can afford to pay better salaries.

Australia's federal budget has allocated a combined $25.4 million over four years for all the country's orchestras, but only if the state governments agree to add a combined $7.6 million, the Australian said.

One problem cited by the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra is the local government's refusal to chip in its share, the newspaper said.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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