The 2015 Federal Budget was announced on Tuesday 12 May. While detail and analysis will come to light over the coming days, the main item for the Arts is the establishing of a 'National Programme for Excellence in the Arts' to support endowments, international touring and strategic projects, with an emphasis on attracting private sector support.
The program will be delivered through the Ministry of Arts, but money is being redirected from the Australia Council to fund it. Minister for the Arts, George Brandis stated 'here will be no reduction in the Australia Council’s funding to the 28 major performing arts companies as a result of this initiative'.
From the Minister's press release:
The National Programme for Excellence in the Arts will allow for a truly national approach to arts funding and will deliver on a number of Government priorities including national access to high quality arts and cultural experiences.
Arts funding has until now been limited almost exclusively to projects favoured by the Australia Council. The National Programme for Excellence in the Arts will make funding available to a wider range of arts companies and arts practitioners, while at the same time respecting the preferences and tastes of Australia’s audiences.
Accordingly, the Visions of Australia and Festivals Australia programmes will return to the Ministry for the Arts after being transferred to Australia Council by the previous government. The Major Festivals Initiative will also be transferred with support for this programme to be doubled to $1.5 million.
The program will also provide $5.3 million over three years for the continuation of Creative Partnerships Plus1 matched funding.
Additionally, following on from the savings announced last year more efficiencies are being required of the Australia Council and arts agencies. An additional $13.2 million through until 2019 is being cut from arts and cultural programs administered by the Australia Council, Screen Australia and the Ministry for Arts. The Australia Council will need to find an additional $1.8 million in efficiencies per year, with Screen Australia looking for $0.9 million and the Ministry $0.7 million this year, and $0.5 million in the future years. According to the Budget papers 'the savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities'.
The Australia Council has noted their savings will be met through reduced funding to the ArtStart, Capacity Building and Artists in Residence programs.
The Australia Council has issued a statement:
The Board of the Australia Council will be giving careful consideration to the Council’s priorities for the next year and beyond, and the implications for delivery of the Australia Council Strategic Plan.
Until the Board and Executive have had the opportunity to undertake these considerations in response to the Budget measures further detail will not be available.
The Australia Council remains committed to supporting Australian artists and arts organisations, and working collaboratively to achieve strong outcomes for the arts in Australia.
News reports and articles
- Why nobody knew: Budget 2015 revelation, Ben Eltham, ArtsHub, 28 May 2015
- Arts Minister admits no consultation on funding reforms, Maxim Boon, Limelight Magazine, 28 May 2015
- Major art heist: the Brandis file, Keith Gallasch, RealTime, 20 May 2015.
- Brandis on new arts funding body, ABC Books and Arts, 19 May 2015.
- Arts Minister George Brandis defends Australia Council funding changes, ABC Books and Arts, 19 May 2015.
- The arts minister has wrenched our culture away from the artists, Julian Meyrick, The Conversation, 15 May 2015.
- What the Australia Council cuts mean for you, Deborah Stone, ArtsHub, 14 May 2015.
- Warnings from the arts community about the effect of Budget funding changes, Steve Cannane, Lateline, 14 May 2015.
- There’s money for the arts in the budget—but with strings attached, Peter Tregear, The Conversation, 13 May 2015.
- George Brandis turns arts into 'political football' with $104.7m Australia Council cuts, Joel Meares, The Canberra Times, 13 May 2015.
- Budget 2015: George Brandis' extraordinary raid of the Australia Council, Ben Eltham, The Drum, 13 May 2015.
- Budget takes $100m from Australia Council to establish arts excellence program, Alan Evans, The Guardian, 12 May 2015.
- Federal Budget 2015: Australia Council loses $104m, funneled to Arts Ministry, Matthew Knott The Sydney Morning Hearld, 12 May 2015.
- Budget shock decimates Australia Council, Ben Eltham, ArtsHub, 12 May 2015.