Fairfax announced plans to shed 125 jobs, prompting a week-long strike by its journalists. Guardian Australia understands that positions being abolished will include all dedicated arts, film and books writers at the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, along with two deputy arts editor roles. Contributors will be paid a lower rate for reviews and features, expected to be less than half of what they currently receive… In a piece for Guardian Australia in October, critic Jane Howard wrote that amid the conservative government’s cuts to arts funding in Australia – most recently in the federal budget of 2015 – the culture of criticism in Australia had run out of steam. She wrote of the “collective exhaustion of unpaid labour”, the disappearance of platforms and theatre blogs, and the general decline in the cultural dialogue which is essential for a healthy arts ecosystem… In 2014, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that, based on national accounts from 2008-09, creative and cultural activity contributed more than $86bn annually to GDP; and twice as many Australians attend a cultural event or facility than a sporting event each year. In March 2015, the Australia Council released the its landmark report, Arts Nation, which found that and that 85% of Australians believed the arts make for a richer and more meaningful life.