Australia Council outlines revised grants program

Tony GrybowskiThe Australia Council for the Arts has announced changes to its grants program in response to the 2015-16 budget measures, delivering the best possible outcomes for the arts sector, and for Australian audiences, within the new arts funding framework.

“The Board and Executive have carefully considered how we can provide the most effective support to Australian artists and arts organisations within the framework of the Council’s legislative functions and Strategic Plan goals,” said Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski.

“The revised funding model has been developed in response to the budget measures and with the intention of providing support for the arts which is complementary to the National Programme for Excellence in the Arts.”

The Council will continue to deliver a grants program for individuals, groups, and small to medium sized organisations, with assessment by a national pool of expert peers. The Council plans to invest $12 million over the two core grants rounds in 2015-16. This reflects a reduction in the number of rounds being offered and will also include some changes to eligibility criteria.

Key grants information for 2015-16 include: two core grants rounds in 2015-16 with deadlines in September 2015 and February 2016. The published December 2015 round will be cancelled.

The September core grant round includes:

  • Development grants for individuals and groups
  • Arts projects for individuals and groups
  • Arts projects for organisations
  • Fellowships (8 to be offered annually)
  • Playing Australia and the Contemporary Music Touring Program

The February core grant round includes:

  • Development grants for individuals and groups
  • Arts projects for individuals and groups
  • Arts projects for organisations (with a reduced maximum limit)
  • Playing Australia and the Contemporary Music Touring Program
  • Dedicated funding for Artists with Disability is maintained

Multi-year funding for organisations: the Six-Year Funding for Organisations program will be replaced with a Four-Year funding model. Organisations will only need to submit one application by 1 December 2015 deadline. Decisions will be announced in April 2016, with funding to commence in January 2017.

Playing Australia will be offered with a 1 December 2015 closing date. International Residencies will continue to be offered annually. Applications close 1 December 2015.

The 2015-16 financial year activities should be considered as a transition year, with a number of existing contractual obligations still in place. This includes the $22.4 million commitment to existing Key Organisations to the end of 2016. Planned core grant rounds for 2016-17 will include three core grant rounds in 2016-17 with closing dates in June 2016, October 2016 and February 2017.

The Australia Council is currently developing a new Corporate Plan which is slated to be published 31 August 2015. This Plan will provide further details about our national and international development activity (including market and audience development initiatives), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts support, research and sector capacity building.

During this planning process the Council is also considering potential cost saving opportunities and efficiencies in operating costs that can be achieved from 2015-16. Mr Grybowski said the Council remained 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.

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Tony Grybowski