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Arts Centre Melbourne to announce redundancies this week

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Arts Centre Melbourne to announce redundancies this week

An operating loss of $8 million has been met with mass redundancies at renowned performing venue, Arts Centre Melbourne.

The budget overstress follows a $1 million operating loss on total revenue of $60.4 million in the previous financial year.

According to ABC Arts, the Centre’s chief executive Judith Isherwood has informed staff that they will meet this week to discuss the redundancies.

A spokeswoman for Isherwood told ABC Arts: "The [State] arts minister will be tabling all of the arts portfolio annual reports in Parliament in October and they will be public documents from then onwards."

A male senior staffer who left the Arts Centre Melbourne earlier this year told ABC the programming budget was almost exhausted by the end of August.

"There is zero money for programming," he said. "There is no cultural or artistic imperative because the focus is entirely on trying to make a profit."

He also said very few of their income targets have been met: ‘’The in-house focus has been on trying to make a profit out of food and beverage sales at the cafes and bars and even that is not a great success.”

The budget blow-out has affected the Australian Ballet who use the theatres year round. The Australian Ballet’s new chief executive, Libby Christie, said the venue was trying to secure extra funding from the state government.

"That is important for them," she said. "I have opened a dialogue with the Arts Centre so that we can talk through the issues and there are no surprises.”

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