(Image: Private Media/Tom Red)

Is the government's multimillion-dollar support package for the arts another rort in the making? 

The Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund was designed to help lift the troubled sector out of the pandemic. But critics say it has not only left huge parts of the arts community behind, but is also being exploited to fit the government’s political and ideological agenda. 

Arts Minister Paul Fletcher has complete ministerial oversight over the $200 million fund (ministerial oversight is a key feature of the sports and commuter carpark rorts). Fletcher has final say over who receives funding, as opposed to the government’s Australia Council, which operates at arm's-length from the government and has a peer review process.