IT is disappointing that at a time when Orange is focusing on the legacy of one of Australia’s most loved poets, support for writers in the region is being wound back.
The Central West Writers’ Centre is involved in the Banjo Paterson writing awards but there is a lot more on offer for the region’s writers than just this popular competition.
The writers’ centre has a brief to foster writing through workshops, bringing visiting writers to the area and other activities which would not be possible without its support.
The funding cut it is facing now is not the first, but it is enough to all but kill off a service which catered for writers of all types from Lithgow to Lake Cargelligo.
It is a vast area and the $37,000 the centre had been left with after a massive budget cut last year had to be supplemented by five councils in the region who fall under the Central West Libraries’ umbrella.
They wanted to see writers in the region get financial support for their passion but like all organisations their funds are limited.
It would be difficult to argue the arts in the central west are over funded. It would be equally difficult to argue that in the absence of government funding there are other sources, such as the corporate sector in Sydney, which would step in to top-up the coffers.
In this environment Arts Minister George Souris should be looking at whether it is really necessary to strip the writing community in this region of the princely sum of $37,000.
In February Orange will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Banjo Paterson.
We can only wonder what the Banjo would make of the city folk who penned this recommendation for the minister?