New portfolio arrangements for the Arts
18 March 2017
The Turnbull Government has announced changes
to Arts portfolio funding arrangements, with the transfer of the majority of
funds from Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund to the Australia Council.
Under these arrangements there will be a
transfer of approximately $61 million in uncommitted funding over four years.
This includes the $32 million transfer to the Australia Council as announced in
late 2015. These new funding arrangements will see a total of $80.2 million
over four years in committed and uncommitted funds transferred to the Australia
Council from 2017-18.
This will also include the transfer of
administration of $12 million in Catalyst funding agreements and $7.2 million
in funding for the Major Festivals Initiative and the Australian World
This will allow the Australia Council to
continue to focus on supporting small to medium arts organisations. It also
provides scope for the Australia Council to address specific recommendations
from the Opera Review related to Victorian Opera and Opera Queensland, as well
as address funding sustainability for Queensland Ballet and the Brandenburg
To date, Catalyst has provided $35 million to
189 projects across the arts and culture sector, 159 of which were small to
medium organisations. A total of 1086 individual activities were undertaken. Of
these, 833 were undertaken across Australia, including 436 activities in
regional and remote areas. Catalyst has funded a broad range of projects across
all states and territories such as sculpture, music, playwriting, performances,
visual arts, dance, theatre, art installations, digital arts, ballet, puppetry,
tours and festivals.
While Catalyst has been successful in
supporting a broad range of arts projects, especially those by small to medium
arts organisations, the Government has listened and responded to feedback from
the Department, the Australia Council and the arts sector regarding the ongoing
arrangements for the Australian Government’s funding for the Arts portfolio.
The Department of Communications and the Arts
will retain $2 million per year to provide an alternative avenue of funding for
organisations which are not receiving funding through the Australia Council.
This may include the galleries, libraries, archives and museums sector and some
regional and community, education and health organisations.
The Department will also continue to administer
the Visions of Australia and Festivals Australia initiatives that were
transferred from the Australia Council to the Department as part of the 2015-16
Budget. The Australia Council supports these activities remaining with the
Department. Creative Partnerships Australia will retain the funding allocated
in that Budget.
Applications received by 18 March 2017 will be
assessed according to current Catalyst guidelines, and the Department and the
Australia Council will work together on the management of Catalyst grant
contracts to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements.
Funding decisions for applications that were
submitted by the end of December 2016 will be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition to these new funding arrangements,
the remit of the Department’s economic and statistical research unit has been
broadened to encompass the Arts sector as well as Communications. Initial
analysis conducted by the now titled Bureau of Communications and Arts Research
will be available next month.
These changes pave the way for the Department
of Communications and the Arts to focus on the priority work of connecting the
Arts sector to the broader innovation agenda. Further details will be announced
in coming weeks regarding the work program and consultation process.
For more information visit: www.arts.gov.au/catalyst.