"I truly believe the arts have the power to unify and heal our nation like nothing else can."
Brisbane singer Katie Noonan challenged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over arts funding on last night's edition of Q&A, calling on Turnbull to commit to a "strong, independent Australia Council for the Arts".
Appearing on the ABC program, the acclaimed songwriter began her statement by saying, "I truly believe the arts have the power to unify and heal our nation like nothing else can", asking the PM if he felt the same way.
"The Arts are at the heart of Creative Industries and in Australia the music industry alone employs 65,000 people," Noonan said.
"With your Government stating that creativity is key to innovation, and that jobs and growth are critical to the future of this country, will you commit to funding a strong, independent Australia Council for the Arts?"
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Turnbull began to answer the question by insisting that the Australia Council receives more funding now then it did under the Labor Party, however Noonan quickly shot back, saying, "I asked you about an independent Australia Council for the Arts. Not Brandis’ Australia Council for the Arts".
Turnbull maintained that the Catalyst Fund program for the arts has not been changed by current Minister for the Arts, Mitch Fifield.
"...Funding has almost entirely gone to regional companies, to smaller regional companies in Australia who are seen to be missing out from funding from the Australia Council," Turnbull said.
"I understand the Australia Council would prefer to have more discretionary spending in its own hands but...all I can say to you that the money that's been spent through the Catalyst program has gone to regional arts companies."
Watch the full clip below.