Governments should spend our money on the arts if it’s for the good of the community.
Governments should spend our money on the arts if it’s for the good of the community.

OPINION: Art matters just as much as roads

WHEN you visit another country, do you go to see its immaculate roads?

Are you drawn to its state-of-the-art sewerage system or perfectly formed footpaths?

While these are all essential features of a well-run society, they're not its drawcards.

Those are found in museums, art galleries and music venues.

Whenever public money is spent on the arts, entertainment or any other channel some might deem "frivolous", there's an inevitable outcry.

"Don't we have more important problems to solve?" is the general gist.

Now, I'm not a politician, nor am I an economist but I do know that public money spent on the arts would not otherwise have been spent on fixing roads.

That's just not how government budgets work.

So no, $10,000 going to the Fraser Coast Show Society is not stopping potholes from being filled.

Grants going to local bands under the Regional Arts Development Fund won't keep the cracks in your footpath from being fixed.

Besides, who's to decide what's "more important?"

A purely functional society with no cultural passion is nothing to write home about.

If your town had perfect roads but no galleries or museums, would you really want to live there?

We should, of course, expect our elected officials to be responsible with the money we pay in rates and taxes.

Holding them to account matters, but so does sometimes trusting them to do what's best for our community.

That's true, even if their spending doesn't always align with our personal interests.



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