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Cate Blanchett hits out at Australia's cuts to arts

Hollywood star Cate Blanchett on Friday hit out at multi-million-dollar planned cuts to Australia's television and film funding body, slamming the move as "short-sighted".

CANNES, France: Hollywood star Cate Blanchett on Friday hit out at multi-million-dollar planned cuts to Australia's television and film funding body, slamming the move as "short-sighted".

The Australian government unveiled a tough budget this week that saw huge cuts to health and education spending, as well as slashed spending for arts and cultural activities, including Screen Australia.

Culture is "a huge economic driver at home and I think it's very short-sighted", the Australian actress told reporters at the Cannes Film Festival where she was promoting animation movie "How To Train Your Dragon 2", in which she is the voice of one of the main characters.

"It's not only a potent industry that feeds Australia at home. Culture generally for any nation is a piece of soft diplomacy, it's a way that we understand the way the mindset of a country works."

Blanchett started out as a theatre actress in Sydney, where she won critical and popular acclaim with a string of successes for the Sydney Theatre Company.

She was the first person to win the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for best newcomer and lead actress in the same year for her role in David Mamet's "Oleanna", opposite "Shine" star Geoffrey Rush.

She moved onto films and has since won two Oscars for her roles in "The Aviator" and Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine".

Blanchett was also joint artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company from 2008 to 2012 along with her husband Andrew Upton.

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