Funding changes to enable Victoria’s independent arts organisations to thrive

Castlemaine State Festival photo by Christine SayerMinister for Creative Industries Martin Foley has announced changes to Creative Victoria’s Organisations Investment Program, a key funding stream for the state’s independent arts sector, addressing long-held industry concerns.

Mr Foley said operational funding for small, medium and large organisations is critical to the strength, vitality and diversity of Victoria’s renowned arts and cultural sector.

With Victoria’s independent arts sector still reeling from the shock changes to federal government funding for the arts, it’s imperative to ensure that our programs here in Victoria are structured to enable our arts organisations – and our creative ecosystem –  to thrive,” says Minister Foley.

The program, introduced in 2013, underpins Victoria’s independent arts sector and currently provides $26 million a year to 88 diverse, not-for-profit arts organisations. The organisations contribute significant cultural, social and economic value to Victoria, employing more than 2,000 people and attracting almost 6.9 million attendances.

Consultation with the small, medium and independent arts and cultural sector found that, while the program’s principles around investment in growth were sound, developing organisations were disadvantaged. In particular, arrangements put in place under the former Coalition government created an unmanageable funding bottleneck ahead of the next round.

The revisions by the Andrews Labor Government address these concerns and seek the right balance between sector sustainability and renewal. Changes include:

  • Increasing the term of funding from three to four years and raising the minimum funding threshold from $40,000 to $60,000 per year.
  • Removing artificial categories (Lead, Established and Developing) and aligning reporting requirements with an organisation’s size, needs and funding.
  • Running an open, peer-assessed application process every four years for all organisations, increasing opportunities for new entrants.
  • Simplifying the program’s application process and aligning it with the Australia Council’s application requirements and funding cycle.

We are committed to peer assessment, a robust process and an open, contestable program, while building a resilient, diverse and creatively vital independent sector,” says Minister Foley. “Our cultural and creative industries are driven by the small, medium and independent sector, and these changes will enhance that role.”

The 2017 – 2020 round of funding will open for applications from 15 March – 12 April 2016. Funding outcomes will be advised in mid-2016. A series of information sessions conducted by Creative Victoria will commence on Wednesday 25 November 2015. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Castlemaine State Festival – photo by Christine Sayer