South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said his government would not match Labor’s pledge to give the Adelaide Fringe Festival an extra $8 million.
Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas said if elected his government would boost the festival’s funding by $2 million a year over the next four years.
The extra funding would be used to deliver a headline “anchor” event each year and promote the festival to interstate and overseas visitors.
“We know how inspiring and entertaining our Adelaide Fringe is and we want the rest of the world to know as well,” Malinauskas said.
“If elected, Labor’s plan is to really elevate this festival and bring Adelaide and the Fringe into the global spotlight.”
Fringe director Heather Croall said the festival had battled over the last two years “to make sure that South Australia can get the festival they want”.
“I truly believe that the Adelaide Fringe is the jewel in the crown in this state, and it needs the funding to double down so that we can disperse that money to artists and venues who are taking the risk every year,” she said.
Marshall said his government had already boosted the festival’s funding to $11.58 million over four years.
“We have very significantly increased the expenditure going to the Fringe since coming to government,” Marshall said.
“This year, we are looking at a range of supports that will make sure that we essentially underwrite the Fringe, to make sure it can get through this difficult period.”