Australia Council outlines 2015 – 2016 Budget impact

Tony GrybowskiThe 2015-16 budget measures will have a significant impact and the Australia Council will be working closely with the Ministry for the Arts and Creative Partnerships Australia to avoid duplication and offer support to the sector that is complementary.

The Australia Council’s new appropriation for 2015-16 is $184.5M. As part of this appropriation the Australia Council will continue to deliver the Major Performing Arts framework, Visual Arts and Crafts Strategy, Playing Australia, Contemporary Touring Initiative and Contemporary Music Touring Program, on behalf of the Australian Government.

These government directed programs make up 66% of the Council’s 2015-16 appropriations. The Council’s remaining funds are $62M, which is $23M less than expected. These funds support the Australia Council’s grants model, current Key Organisations, national and international development activities, capacity building, research and operations.

To manage the transition to the new funding framework the Council needs to take the following actions:

  • the Australia Council June grant round, including government programs, will not proceed;
  • existing applications can be assessed within the September round, which will include multi-year project support for individual artists and arts organisations;
  • the six-year funding for organisations program is suspended;
  • the Australia Council will honour the current contracts of multi-year funded organisations until their conclusion at the end of 2016; and
  • the ArtStart, Creative Communities Partnerships Initiative and Artists in Residence programs will not be offered in the future.

Working within budget constraints the Australia Council will continue to deliver national and international development activity, dedicated support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, research, evaluation and capacity building.

The Council will maintain its strong connections with the sector and provide ongoing updates related to these changes. $110M will be redirected over four years from the Australia Council’s appropriation to support the establishment of the National Programme for Excellence in the Arts, run by the Ministry for the Arts.

This redirected funding will also support the Creative Partnerships Australia matched funding program and the transfer of the Visions of Australia and Festivals of Australia programs and the Major Festivals Initiative to the Ministry for the Arts.

As the Australian Government’s funding and advisory body the Council is committed to working with all stakeholders. The March grant round of the Australia Council grants program is unaffected and the outcomes will be announced publicly in June.

Over the coming months the Council will review its strategic plan and revise activities within the new budget, and in the context of further detail about the Government’s new National Programme.

Australia Council Chief Executive Tony Grybowski said that following the reforms of the past two years the Council was a more dynamic and responsive organisation.

“This puts us in the best possible position to respond to the unexpected budget measures announced last week, and to make the most strategic use of our funding and expertise,” said Mr Grybowski.

“The Australia Council is committed to supporting a vibrant and sustainable ecology which includes artists at all stages of their careers, arts organisations of all sizes, and strategic investment to develop global markets and audiences, and remains uniquely positioned to be a strong advocate for Australian arts, drawing on the rich arts expertise of its staff and a deep knowledge base developed over almost half a century of supporting the arts in this country.”

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Image: Tony Grybowski – photo courtesy of the Australia Council