SA entertainment venues – A concrete example of how statist politics harms humans

29 01 2010

Here in Australia it is common for governments to use taxes in order to host sports events, build sports stadiums, and to give to sports organisations.  It’s also common for taxes to be spent on building arts theatres, galleries, youth arts programs, grants for artists etc.  Considering sports events are already hugely successful and popular, and would clearly survive with private investment alone, why do governments need do this?   For the arts, it’s an even more compelling question.  Art is a human need existing since time immemorial.  There is always art no matter what kind of government, so again, why? 

I think governments should properly have no role to play in sports and should have no role in the arts, because in order to achieve anything they must first necessarily destroy private capital (via income and other involuntary taxes).  I believe that the government should not be permitted to do this to individuals.  In addition, I believe the result is that inevitably less people are satisfied overall than would have otherwise been in the absence of the government intervention.  eg/ Governments around the world, including our own, are reknown for sponsoring politically motivated art and pathetic modern art that the vast majority of the general public have no interest in what so ever.   

Often governments claim that sponsoring sports/arts events or building sports stadiums/theatres will attract tourism or other revenue.  They call it “investment”.
This is a classic example of the dishonesty of politicians and the ineptitude of the mainstream media.  As previously stated, “investments” first require a destruction of private wealth and therefore destruction of potential private investment – by force (tax).  It is therefore not correct to call government theatre building for example an “investment”.  A more accurate description would be, forced wealth re-distribution via a middle man (enter government bureacracy). 

In addition, why should tourists be favoured at the expense of others?  Why should particular sports/arts fans be favoured over non fans?  Why should the big construction company capable of building a stadium be favoured over all other industries? 
An unjust abuse of power IMO. 

Not only are governments behaving in a way I consider immoral, by violating my right to my life and therefore my property (instead of doing their job and protecting my rights), they are also hurting the hip pockets of everyday Australians.  For example this study shows that government sponsorship of sports events costs more to the average tax payer than the “revenue” generated by the event.  “Taxpayer Subsidies for Major Sporting Events” 

“This paper concludes that major sporting events do not appear to generate sufficient extra tax revenue to justify the expenditure of taxpayers’ funds”

South Australia has a current, clear and concrete example of how the state government has hurt ordinary people by wasting their money.  We tax payers are currently footing the 52 million dollar bill for building a new 2500 seat venue next to the Entertainment Centre (a 5000 seat venue).  However, we already have a government sponsored stadium less than 1 km away that holds 3000 people!  It’s called ETSA Park Netball Stadium, and the government spent over 11 million dollars building this stadium about 10 years ago.  I see no reason why this stadium could not host all sorts of events and I have heard that tax payers are actually paying for this stadium not to be used.  ie: The stadium use is restricted in exchange for a tax payer subsidy!  I cannot provide evidence for this however and would probably have to track down the annual report from the state government’s “Office for recreation and sport”.  However, if anyone has any further information, please fill me in.   
Directly across the road from the new venue is the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel.  A fine example of a successful venue that for many years now has regularly hosted bands and still has no pokies.  The Gov is capable of holding at least 500 people.  We also have a 500 person government venue about 1 km away in the city called Fowler’s Live.  We have a slightly larger venue called HQ bar on West Terrace, a stone’s throw from the new venue.  In addition, we have a grand old 2000 seat theatre called Thebarton theatre in South Australia.  Once again, this theatre is centrally located, and is perhaps 2 km from the new venue.  This theater was built in the 1930s by the Thebarton council however they planned to demolish it in the 1970s.  Thanks to private interest and efforts it was saved.  From Thebarton theatre’s website:

In 1981 Weslo Holdings Pty. Ltd took over the lease of the Thebarton Town Hall and renamed it Thebarton Theatre.
The building had deteriorated significantly in the latter years of the Council’s management and Weslo Holdings had to spend more than $1million on redeveloping the theatre.
It was fitted out with new foyers, toilets, electrics, carpets, seating, administration areas, bars, and confectionary and merchandise areas.

Weslo Holdings Pty Ltd is very proud of the fact that, except for the initial loan of $350,000 taken out by the council (the interest on which (and some) was paid by Weslo Holdings Pty Ltd), all other development (over $1.0 million worth) has been undertaken and paid for by the company. Further upgrades including the beautiful old interior will be undertaken in the near future.

As a side note, this theatre has also been heritage listed, meaning the state government now has strict control over what can and cannot be done with this theatre, for example when it comes to attempting repairs, renovations or upgrades.  Considering the theatre wouldn’t even exist today if the council had gotten it’s way, this seems quite unjust to me, although perhaps the managers aren’t too worried about this, I don’t know.  

This old theatre hosts many events these days.  I am quite fond of this theatre mainly because I’ve seen some great shows there and there’s a little charm to the place. 
Unlike recent government projects that are inevitably hugely expensive failures, like the unprofitable wine centre and the recent tram line extensions, this theatre is of course, profitable – now.  But, their job has been made harder.  As a 2000 seat venue, they will have to compete directly with the new state government’s 52 million dollar venue.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they have already lost shows. 

We can only hope that the new venue doesn’t now run at a loss too. (over and above the current loss of course).  I’m not holding my breath.

In the meantime, perhaps you can imagine how 52 million dollars could have otherwise helped the lives of decent ordinary hard working South Australians had this money been left in the hands of those to whom it rightly belonged. 

This is yet another concrete example of how statism harms human life.  The danger and seriousness of unchecked statism should be obvious in our culutre considering the horrifically violent 20th century where, nationalism, facism and socialism were in vogue.  But this is not the case. 
eg/ I strongly doubt you will find any article (apart from this one) discussing the destructive 52 million dollar injustice I have just identified.  You’ll probably find a few praising it though.




One response

29 01 2010
A concrete example of how statist politics harms humans « Tim R | australianews

[…] original here: A concrete example of how statist politics harms humans « Tim R Share and […]

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