Four Year Investment for Organisations

Expressions of interest

Context for Expressions of Interest

Since the last cycle of four year investment was implemented, organisations in the arts and cultural sector were impacted by events that have significantly disrupted their operations and sustainability. The livelihood and well-being of artists, creatives and those working in the sector to support them were also impacted. The effects of this were experienced in different ways across the country.

The Australia Council acknowledges that the ramifications of these events are ongoing.

We anticipate that artists and creatives, management, and boards of organisations will develop artistic visions and plans that while forward looking, will take into account the very different operating environment likely to be experienced over the next few years.

We welcome and strongly encourage you to contact us to discuss your EOI in the context of your particular circumstances.

We also offer the following additional resources to these guidelines:


Guidelines

Four Year Investment provides multi-year investment for arts and cultural organisations. This will enable organisations to plan with longer-term certainty and increase their capacity to leverage other support and collaborations.

Organisations must demonstrate a high degree of artistic achievement, along with a compelling four year vision for the period 2025-2028. To be competitive, organisations will also need to show they are well governed, effectively managed, and generate diverse income streams.

It is the intention of this category to invest in organisations that are part of the small to medium arts and cultural sector. Large, well-resourced organisations or institutions seeking investment in multi-year arts programs may not be considered a priority for investment in this category.

Four Year Investment for Organisations is a two-stage process. Stage one is an expression of interest (EOI). If an organisation is successful in its first stage EOI, it will be invited to make a full Stage 2 application for assessment.

Investment for organisations approved after Stage 2 assessment will support activities from 1 January 2025 to 31 December 2028.

The minimum eligible grant request for this program is $100,000 per year, over the four year investment period ($400,000 in total). The maximum eligible grant request is $520,000 per year over the four year investment period ($2,080,000 in total).

The revised cap of $520,000 per year acknowledges partial indexation that has been applied across the 2021-2024 investment cycle.

The application process for Four Year Investment for Organisations involves two stages.

Stage 1: Expression of interest (EOI)

  • EOIs open for submission in September 2022
  • EOIs close 3pm AEDT on Tuesday, 14 February 2023
  • applicants notified in June 2023.

Stage 2: Full application for organisations invited after EOI process

  • applications open from June 2023
  • applications close August 2023
  • applicants notified by December 2023.

Who can submit an EOI

We accept EOIs from organisations that develop, create and/or present artistic programs.

Organisations that deliver services as part of an artistic program may apply for Four Year Investment and will be assessed on the quality of their artistic program.

The Australia Council will also support services to the arts sector through a new stream of investment called Delivery Partners. Further information on this investment stream will be made available on our website in November.

The Australia Council requires that organisations be registered under Australian law (for example, incorporated association or company limited by guarantee) or created by law (for example, a government statutory authority).

  • Organisations that are not legally constituted are not eligible to apply.
  • Organisations that are registered as Trusts are not eligible to apply.

Organisations may be required to provide a certificate of incorporation or evidence of their current legal status.

It is the intention of this category to invest in organisations that are part of the small to medium arts and cultural sector. Large, well-resourced organisations or institutions seeking investment in multi-year arts programs may not be considered a priority for investment in this category.

Who can’t submit an EOI

You can’t submit an EOI if:

  • you have an overdue grant report
  • you have overdue Multi-Year Investment reporting
  • you owe money to the Australia Council
  • your organisation is not registered in Australia
  • you are an individual or group
  • your organisation is registered as a Trust.

What you can’t submit an EOI for

You can’t submit an EOI for the following activities:

  • activities that do not involve or benefit Australian practicing artists, arts professionals, audiences or communities
  • activities that do not have a clearly defined arts or cultural component
  • activities that have already taken place
  • activities engaging with First Nations content, artists and communities that do not adhere to the Australia Council First Nations Cultural & Intellectual Property Protocols.

Your application must comply with the following Protocols. We may contact you to request further information during the assessment process, or if successful, as a condition of your funding.

Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts

All applications involving First Nations artists, communities or subject matter must adhere to these Protocols, provide evidence of this in their application and support material. More information on the First Nations Protocols is available here.

Commonwealth Child Safe Framework

All successful applicants are required to comply with all Australian law relating to employing or engaging people who work or volunteer with children, including working with children checks and mandatory reporting. Successful organisations who provide services directly to children, or whose funded activities involve contact with children, will additionally be required to implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

You will need to select under which arts practice area you wish to have your EOI reviewed:

  • Community Arts and Cultural Development
  • Dance
  • Emerging and Experimental Arts
  • First Nations arts and culture *
  • Literature
  • Multi-art form
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual Arts.

If you are unsure which arts practice area to choose, contact an Artists Services Officer.

*Only First Nations organisations with 51% or more First Nations representation in governance and key creatives at the time of submission, can choose to have their EOI reviewed under the First Nations arts practice area. However, First Nations organisations may alternatively choose to have their EOI reviewed under a different arts practice area.

EOIs are reviewed by expert industry representatives called Industry Advisors.

Industry Advisors are experts in their field with relevant experience and knowledge of an arts practice or sector. Industry Advisors will make recommendations for the Australia Council to consider when making the final decisions on which organisations to invite to make full applications and invest in for 2025-2028.

EOIs for Four Year Investment can be submitted through our application management system from September 2022.

Please note: any organisation seeking Four Year Investment must submit an EOI.

You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • the arts practice area under which you wish your EOI to be reviewed
  • a brief summary of your organisation, including an outline of your core activity and the role you play in the arts sector (approx. 750 words)
  • your organisation’s four year vision for the period 2025-2028 (approx. 500 words)
  • a brief summary of your organisation’s key activities over the last five years (approx. 500 words)
  • a description of how your organisation is addressing the different operating environment likely to be experienced in 2025-2028 after the disruption of the last 2 years (approx. 500 words)
  • a list of key staff in your organisation, with information on their roles
  • the members of your Board or governing committee (to whom the head of your organisation reports), with information on their length of service and the structure and composition of the Board
  • whether you report your financial information on a calendar or financial year basis
  • a summary of your audited financial information for each of the previous three years, including assets, liabilities, total income and total expenditure
  • investment you have received from sources other than the Australia Council in the past three years
  • projected high level income and expenditure for the next three years*
    • income should include government income (recurrent, project, other), contributed income (philanthropy, sponsorship), earned income (program, non-program related)
    • expenditure should include program costs (direct and non-direct), capital expenditure and salaries
    • the annual amount of investment you request from the Australia Council Four Year Investment program from 2025-2028.

*Organisations who report on a calendar year basis: 2023-2025. Organisations who report on a financial year basis: 2022/23-2024/25.

We will review your EOI against three assessment criteria listed below.

Under each criterion are bullet points indicating what may be considered when assessing your EOI. You do not need to respond to every bullet point listed.

1. Quality of artistic or cultural vision and achievements

We will review your organisation’s artistic achievements and artistic vision as described in your EOI. We may consider how your organisation’s track record and vision support:

  • the development of great art, artists and arts workers
  • engaging arts experiences
  • expanding access to arts experiences
  • activity that connects communities
  • creative work that reflects contemporary Australia
  • a dynamic sector that is diverse and inclusive
  • the progression of your artistic ambition over the four year cycle
  • enabling risk taking and experimentation in the realisation of works
  • a vibrant society and culture.

2. Organisational capacity

We will review your organisation’s track record of delivery, and capacity to deliver its vision. We may consider:

  • the experience of the people leading and governing your organisation
  • the financial health of your organisation, including the effective use of resources
  • the diversity and scale of income and co-funding you generate and receive
  • whether your work is supported by meaningful evaluation
  • how you demonstrate cultural competencies and adherence to relevant cultural protocols, particularly if your organisation works with diverse artists, audiences or communities. Where relevant, evidence that the Protocols for First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts have been adhered to
  • factors that have impacted your organisation’s financial health, planning and priorities.

You may wish to refer to our guide on Essential Governance Practices.

3. Alignment with the Strategic Objectives of the Australia Council

We will review how your organisation’s vision aligns with one or more of the strategic objectives in the current Australia Council Corporate Plan 2022-2026. The objectives are:

  • Australians are transformed by arts and creativity – We will enable more opportunities for Australians to be captivated by, and inspired through, experiencing arts and culture.
  • Our arts reflect us – We will support equity of opportunity and access in our creative expression, workforce, leaders and audiences.
  • First Nations arts and culture are cherished – We will build on our long term commitment to First Nations arts and culture, recognising the importance of First Nations peoples’ self-determination, cultural authority and leadership to our collective prosperity.
  • Arts and creativity are thriving – We will support the best circumstances for a thriving arts sector.
  • Arts and creativity are valued – We will increase awareness of the value of public investment in arts and creativity.

Stage 1 EOI

Based on the recommendations of Industry Advisors who will review EOIs in panels for each arts practice area, we will rank the EOIs from highest to lowest, based on how well each EOI meets the assessment criteria.

We will consider the arts practice context and analysis of the organisational and financial data provided in each EOI. Please note: if we have provided investment to your organisation previously, our review will also consider how well you have delivered the activity supported.

We may also consider the spread of organisations across arts practice genres, geography, and communities in prioritising how we rank organisations.

We will only invite organisations to make a full application where Industry Advisors have recommended that an EOI submitted meets the assessment criteria to a high degree.

A recommendation of the mix of organisations to be invited to submit full applications in Stage 2 will be presented to the Board of the Australia Council.

You will be notified of the outcome of your EOI in June 2023.

We expect a high volume of EOIs. Only a limited number of organisations will be invited to apply in Stage 2. Given this volume, we can only provide general feedback on EOIs rather than for each EOI submitted.

Stage 2 applications

If your EOI is approved, you will be invited to submit a full application for Four Year Investment. This includes:

  • projected financial information for the next three years (including the first year of Four Year Investment in 2025)
  • a Strategic Plan that covers 2025-2028 or a significant portion of that period
  • a detailed program of activities for the current or next year
  • a draft program of activities for the first year of Four Year Investment in 2025.

You may receive guidance from us on the level of investment you can request for your full application. This may vary from your request in the EOI.

You will be asked to provide the following support material:

  • up to three URLs (weblinks) that best demonstrate your organisation’s artistic output. These URLs may include video, audio, images or written material.
    Do not provide URLs that require the user to log in or sign up to a platform. Do not provide links to Spotify or other applications that require users to log in or pay for access. If you are linking to media files that are private or password protected like Vimeo, please provide the password.
  • the latest three years of your audited financial accounts or equivalent. Organisations who report on a calendar year basis: 2019, 2020 and 2021. Organisations who report on a financial year basis:  2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.

Reporting requirements for successful organisations

Organisations applying for Four Year Investment should be aware of the reporting requirements should an application be approved. These are not negotiable and be part of the conditions of the funding agreement, so be sure to include the resources required to do so in your future budget projections.

Organisations receiving Four Year Investment must provide the Australia Council with financial reporting three times a year, as well as annual reports on KPIs and statistical data to receive payments.

You must provide your organisation’s annual financial statements audited in accordance with Australian Auditing Standards by an Approved Auditor, and discloses separately the Four Year Investment funding as both income or unexpended grants. An Approved Auditor means a person who is: (a) registered as a company auditor under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), or a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, or of CPA Australia or the National Institute of Accountants; and (b) not a principal, member, shareholder, officer or employee of the Organisation or of a related body corporate as defined in Section 50 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

The data and outcomes reporting provides Council with valuable information to monitor the performance and activity of each organisation and ensures accountability for the investment of public funds. It also informs research and communication by Council, allowing us to demonstrate the impact of our funded organisations.

Remember: if you or someone you care about is in crisis or at immediate risk, dial 000.

You can also find support at a number of free helplines:

Frequently asked questions

Types of organisations we can support include incorporated associations, companies limited by guarantee or government statutory authorities. Organisations may be required to provide a certificate of incorporation or evidence of their current legal status.

No, only organisations that are registered under Australian law can apply. Further detail on who can apply to the Four Year Investment program is available on our website.

Yes, if you can demonstrate that:

  • the funding will support activities with a clearly defined arts component
  • there is a compelling financial rationale for subsidising these activities
  • none of the Australia Council funds will be distributed to shareholders.

Further detail on who can apply to the Four Year Investment program is available on our website.

It is the intention of this category to invest in organisations where the artistic activities funded through four year investment make up the majority of the organisation’s program. This is typically organisations that operate as small to medium enterprises. Large, well-resourced organisations or institutions seeking investment in multi-year arts programs may not be considered a priority for investment in this category.

  • As a FYIO you are not eligible to apply for the Arts Projects for Organisations category.
  • You are eligible to apply for government programs like Playing Australia, except if you are in receipt of Multi Year Playing Australia investment.
  • Other applications you submit to the Australia Council will need to demonstrate the activities are outside the scope of your Four Year Investment application or agreement.
  • Eligibility for other investment opportunities will be advised on a case by case basis as they arise.

Yes. You will need to demonstrate that your organisation generates diverse income streams; however, those income streams can come from any source.

Further details on who can apply to the Four Year Investment program is available on our website.

Trustee companies and Trusts are not eligible to apply.

We will accept your eligibility to submit an EOI based on your intention to change the company structure prior to receiving our investment.

If you have an overdue acquittal or outstanding Four Year Funding for Organisation reporting, you are ineligible to submit an EOI.

Yes, if your organisation is registered under, or by, Australian law. If you do not have a board or governing committee, you will need to explain what mechanisms you do have in place to oversee the effective management and sustainability of your organisation.

EOIs will open online in September 2022.

Information on the application process and key dates for the Four Year Investment program is available on our website.

Yes, you will need to select from the following arts practices:

Community Arts and Cultural Development; Dance; Emerging and Experimental Arts; First Nations arts and culture; Literature; Multi-arts; Music; Theatre; Visual Arts.

Further detail on the EOI assessment process is available on our website.

The Australia Council expects to receive a high volume of submissions to the Four Year Investment program. The two-stage process aims to minimise the work required from organisations for the initial EOI stage. This is so that organisations that are not accepted through the EOI stage do not spend significant time and resources on the full application.

  • Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their EOI in June 2023
  • Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their Stage 2 application by December 2023
  • Key dates for the Four Year Investment program are available on our website.

Strategic plans will form part the Stage 2 application, closing in August 2023.

Further detail on the application process is available on our website.

Yes, but you will need to tailor your EOI and support material to make the case for your organisation’s contribution to the area of arts practice. We do not recommend you submit more than two EOIs.

If you submit more than one EOI, and you are invited to submit a full application at Stage 2, you will be advised under which arts practice area we will accept the application. Only one invitation at Stage 2 will be offered

The Four Year Investment category will not have separate assessment criteria for service organisations as was previously the case. However, organisations that deliver an artistic program and offer some services as part of their activity will remain eligible to apply to the Four Year Investment category. But please note, applications will be assessed primarily on the quality of the artistic program outlined in the application.

Organisations that primarily provide services for the arts may be eligible for investment through a new program called Delivery Partners. Delivery Partners provide key services for the arts as a whole, or within a particular artform area.

Delivery Partners are still required to submit business plans and budgets as part of their proposal, which is also reviewed by Industry Advisors who will make recommendations to the Australia Council. If approved, the Delivery Partner will enter into a negotiated investment agreement with the Australia Council. This agreement will include key performance indicators that measure the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.

The Australia Council will talk through investment options with service organisations that previously were funded through Four Year Funding.

We will provide further detail on Delivery Partners on our website in November 2022.

No, arts organisations do not need to have a national reach, they may work at any scale. However, arts organisations must be able demonstrate the quality of their artistic program and that their work is recognised nationally as an exemplar of its kind.

This means an organisation may present its artistic program for a local community or region but that the work is considered as being of high quality by peers in other parts of their arts sector or the broader community in Australia or internationally.

  • You can apply for a minimum of $100,000 per year ($400,000 over the four years) up to a maximum of $520,000 per year ($2,080,000 over the four years).
  • Further detail on program guidelines is available on the Australia Council website.
  • If your organisation is invited to submit a full application at Stage 2, you will receive guidance on the investment you may request. This may be higher or lower than the amount requested in your EOI.
  • Think carefully about the amount you request in your EOI. If the mismatch between your four year vision and the resources required is too great, this may affect the viability of your application.
  • Organisations that have applications approved at Stage 2, may also be offered an investment amount lower than was requested for the four years.
  • This is possible. However, the situation will be different for each artform given that the scale and diversity of organisations in each sector varies widely.
  • We encourage you to make realistic and well evidenced requests for funding in your EOI. The request should be informed by your current financial position and capacity, and your vision for Four Year Investment.
  • Further detail on the assessment process is available on the Australia Council website.

The level of funding for Four Year Investment and for Delivery Partners for services will remain at around $28 million per year. At this stage, we do not anticipate the overall budget allocation for Four Year Investment and Delivery Partners will change significantly.

  • There is no set amount to award by State or Territory.
  • The amount of funding available for each artform will be informed by an analysis of the funding requests for the Four Year Investment program and for the other investment programs we offer.
  • We aim to ensure Council’s investment reflects where each artform needs it most, whether that is for individuals and groups, or project/multi-year year funding for organisations.
  • Applications will be reviewed by Industry Advisors who will make recommendations for Council to consider when making the final investment decisions for organisations. The Industry Advisors will review applications under arts practice areas relevant to their knowledge and experience.
  • Industry Advisors will participate in both EOI and Stage 2 reviews.
  • The full list of industry Advisors will be published on our website following notification of the outcomes of Stage 2.

Further detail on Industry Advice is available in the guidelines on the Australia Council website.

  • To leverage our sector expertise and position as a national agency, a recalibration was needed of the Four Year Investment program to ensure effective, efficient, and impactful investment.
  • To ensure that our investment in the national landscape is distinct and strategic, we need to take into consideration a range of investments including state and territory investments, the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework (NPAPF) and Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS).
  • We are moving to an Industry Advisor method of assessment so that we can take account of the recommendations of experts in the industry while also taking a strategic overview of the entire national landscape. Industry Advisors will make recommendations after reviewing applications within an arts practice area. The Australia Council will then consider their recommendations within the context of a national investment portfolio across all art forms.
  • Industry Advisors will be artists, arts/creative industries workers, arts administrators/managers or other people with relevant experience and knowledge of an arts practice or sector.
  • The Industry Advice method of assessment still involves a significant process of review, commentary, and deliberation by external experts. However, it also involves Australia Council staff allowing for greater strategic oversight and greater capacity to shape the investment portfolio to meet the strategic needs of the entire sector.
  • Importantly, this model of assessment and decision-making remains at arm’s length from government.
  • We expect a high volume of applications at the EOI stage.
  • Only the most competitive organisations will be invited to submit a full application. Therefore, we expect the success rate at the EOI stage to be low.
  • There will be a smaller number of organisations invited to submit a full application at Stage 2; so consequently, the success rate will be higher at this stage.
  • The success rate at each stage is dependent on the number of applications, the size of the grant requests, and the overall budget available.

Will the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) be part of the FYI process?

VACS Leadership Organisations are assessed separately to the Four Year Investment process.

Your four year vision should ideally cover all (or a significant portion) of the period 2025–2028.

The EOI requires you to supply:

  • a summary of your audited or equivalent financial data for each of the previous three years, i.e., 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21.
  • projected high level income and expenditure for the next three years, i.e., 2022/23, 2023/24, 2024/25
  • The latest three years of your audited accounts, i.e., 2018/19 2019/20 and 2020/21

The stage 2 application asks for the following information:

  • projected financial information for the next three years entered into a budget template, i.e., 2022/23, 2024/25, 2025/26.
  • your audited figures for 2021/22

The EOI requires you to supply:

  • a summary of your audited or equivalent financial data for each of the previous three years i.e., 2019, 2020 and 2021.
  • projected high level income and expenditure for the next three years, i.e., 2023, 2024, 2025
  • the latest three years of your audited accounts. i.e., 2019, 2020 and 2021

The stage 2 application asks for the following information:

  • projected financial information for the next three years entered into a budget template, I.e.,2024, 2025, 2026.
  • your audited figures for 2022.
  • However, to be competitive, you will need to demonstrate your organisational capacity and viability. Factors that will strengthen your organisation’s capacity and viability include confirmed future funding and the track record of your key staff and board.
  • Further detail on applications, support material and the assessment criteria is available on our website.
  • Yes, please be sure to include the relevant support material and data with your application, so Industry Advisors can assess your application
  • You can use the certified accounts that you do produce to complete the financial data in the EOI, and you can attach these accounts as support material.
  • If you are approved for Four Year Investment you will be required to provide us with audited accounts as part of your regular reporting, so be sure to include the resources required to do so your future budget projections.

Yes. Please provide your organisation’s audited or equivalent financial data, and the forward projections for your whole organisation.

  • This situation probably the case for larger institutions like universities, local governments, or major galleries. Please note also that under of new Four Year Investment guidelines our intention is to fund organisations that make up the small to medium arts sector. Applications from large, well-resourced organisations or institutions may not be a priority.
  • Please contact our enquiries team to discuss your situation, including what financial data you are able to access for your program or business unit.
  • You will need to provide past audited financial data and accounts for your whole organisation. However, we may give you an exemption to provide forward projections that relate to your program or business unit only.
  • No late support material may be submitted for the EOI.
  • The only support material we will accept after the Stage 2 closing date is audited accounts for the 2022 financial year.
  • If you need to submit these accounts after the closing date, please send them to myi@australiacouncil.gov.au. Be sure to include your application reference number in the email.

    Please note: late support material is not distributed to Industry Advisors with your application. We make a note of it on file and bring it to the attention of Industry Advisors at our discretion.

Although letters of support are not specifically asked for in the EOI guidelines, you may supply them if you wish. You can include up to five letters of support, with each letter not exceeding one A4 page.

We encourage you to use one of the three URLs allocated for Artistic Support Material to supply letters of support, but if you prefer you can upload a PDF document in the ‘uploaded support material’ section of the online form instead.

  • You will not be penalised for providing additional support material beyond the recommended limit of 3 URLs, but we do advise against overwhelming the assessors with material. Make the selection that best demonstrates the quality of your organisation’s artistic output.

You need to provide:

  • a data summary of your balance sheet for the previous three years
  • a list of funding from sources other than the Australia Council in the previous three years.

Yes. All organisations, including those currently in receipt of Four Year Funding, will need to submit an EOI.

Find a list of the current Four Year Funded organisations here.

  • There will be no transitional funding offered to organisations currently in receipt of Four Year Funding if their request for investment in 2025-2028 is declined.
  • The two-stage process aims to maximise the notice period for all organisations. If you are declined at the EOI stage, we aim to give your organisation 18 months’ notice, and at least 12 months’ notice if you are declined at Stage 2.
  • The Australia Council is committed to working closely with organisations around the impact of the EOI/ Stage 2 outcomes. However, this does not include any transitional funding support.

The Australia Council will be in close contact with each State and Territory funding agency throughout the Four Year Investment process.

Yes, please be sure to include the relevant support material and data with your application, so Industry Advisors can review your application.

Playing Australia Multi-Year Investment

The Regional Performing Arts Touring program (Playing Australia) supports performing arts to reach regional and remote communities across Australia.

The Regional Performing Arts Touring program (Playing Australia) supports performing arts to reach regional and remote communities across Australia. Playing Australia Multi-Year Investment is offered to support the net touring and other designated costs associated with three years of touring activity (2023 – 2025).

Organisations may apply for up to $350,000 per annum for three years.

Three organisations will receive Playing Australia Multi-Year Investment to be awarded through a peer assessed process.

Based on the proposed audience engagement plans, regional and remote presenters, proposed locations for touring may be either:

  • The same locations for each year of touring
  • A different itinerary for each year

Recipients of Playing Australia Multi-Year Investment will not be eligible to submit applications to Playing Australia Project Investment for tours that take place between 2023 – 2025.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to speak to a member of the Artists Services team before applying.

Please read our updated FAQs at the bottom of this page before commencing your application.

Who can apply

We accept applications from organisations.

Who can’t apply

You can’t apply for a grant if:

  • you receive investment through the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework
  • you received a grant, or administered a grant, from the Australia Council in the past and that grant has not been satisfactorily acquitted
  • you owe money to the Australia Council.

What you can apply for

You can apply for:

  • inter-state touring costs, including freight, transport, accommodation and travel allowances
  • a contribution towards tour coordination, at a set rate per venue
  • costs associated with reducing the environmental impact of touring
  • costs associated with supporting the wellbeing of the touring company
  • a portion of costs associated with re-mounting a work
  • where COVID-19 conditions prevail, costs associated with COVIDSafe delivery of touring.

The Australia Council will continue to take account of the impacts of COVID-19 on touring, including adjusting eligible costs and the possible extension of temporary adjustments depending on the current COVID-19 conditions.

What you can’t apply for

You can’t apply for the following activity:

  • projects for which the performers and artistic personnel are not paid at award rates
  • projects to tour an international production
  • touring projects that only include capital city or metropolitan presentations
  • touring projects that only include presentations in schools
  • tour dates that have already taken place
  • projects with a budget in surplus
  • activities engaging with First Nations content, artists and communities that do not adhere to the Australia Council First Nations Cultural & Intellectual Property Protocols.

Your application must comply with the following Protocols. We may contact you to request further information during the assessment process, or if successful, as a condition of your funding.

Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts

All applications involving First Nations artists, communities or subject matter must adhere to these Protocols, provide evidence of this in their application and support material. More information on the First Nations Protocols is available here.

Commonwealth Child Safe Framework

All successful applicants are required to comply with all Australian law relating to employing or engaging people who work or volunteer with children, including working with children checks and mandatory reporting. Successful organisations who provide services directly to children, or whose funded activities involve contact with children, will additionally be required to implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

Your application will be assessed by a panel of peers. The peers will be representative of a range of areas relevant to performing arts touring, including:

  • regional audience engagement and presentation
  • performing arts production
  • tour coordination and management.

Peers will assess your application against the following four criteria.

You should consider COVID-19 in your application where relevant conditions prevail.

Region

  • The regional and remote coverage proposed by the itinerary for the first year of investment. For the 2nd and 3rd years of investment this may be evidenced through existing partnerships and partnerships in development
  • the regional and remote coverage proposed by the itinerary and the flexibility to respond to COVID-19 conditions.

Quality

  • The national touring track record of the applicant
  • the selection rationale for determining which productions are most appropriate for the touring program.
  • the calibre of the organisation, including demonstrated evidence of good planning, governance and management.

If known:

  • the artists and the arts workers involved in the project/s
  • the quality of proposed work/s

Engagement

  • Experiences offered to regional and remote communities – including audience attendance and where appropriate other participation activities, such as workshops and master classes, digital offerings
  • how partnerships will be developed and maintained with presenters and regional communities throughout the three year period.
  • appropriate levels of engagement and partnerships developed with presenters to achieve audience goals within COVID-19 conditions.

Viability

  • Evidence of a realistic and well-planned budget (for 2023 touring)
  • evidence of home state of applicant
  • the proposed itinerary is the most efficient and logical trajectory for the tour and accounts for potentially changing COVID-19 restrictions in each state and territory
  • the itinerary considers the overall wellbeing of the touring party whilst on tour
  • appropriate level of support from other sources
  • capacity to deliver the proposed activity
  • appropriate COVIDSafe protocols in place for touring party, venues and audiences
  • appropriate mitigation strategies if the touring environment changes due to restrictions for COVID-19 within state or territory jurisdictions.

ESSENTIAL:

1. Playing Australia Budget (2023 touring only)

This must be submitted in Excel format only. Download the template in the ‘Budget’ section of the application form. Submit the completed form as support material titled ‘2023 Budget’.

 

OPTIONAL:

1. Production excerpt

You may submit a video of up to five minutes of a production you plan to tour. For companies proposing to tour works yet to be produced, a video of a past example of the company’s work should be submitted. For music works, a sound recording is acceptable. Files must be provided as one URL link.

2. Letters of Support

Individuals, groups or organisations can write letters in support of your project. Presenters and venues may also wish to provide letters of support reflecting their commitment to the tour. A support letter should explain to the assessment panel how the project or activity will benefit the applicant or the broader community (and if applicable, how the project or activity will benefit community participants).

If relevant to your activity, letters of support must provide evidence of appropriate permissions and support from First Nations organisations, communities, and Elders. Please refer to the First Nations Protocols for more information.

You can include up to five letters of support, with each letter not exceeding one A4 page. Maximum 5 pages may be submitted as one PDF.

3. Reviews relating to the production (if applicable)

Maximum 3 pages may be submitted as one PDF.

4. Brief biographical information on principal personnel (if applicable)

Maximum 3 pages as one PDF.

Whilst this material is not compulsory, you are advised to consider providing any relevant items, to support the overall competitiveness of your application.

Please note: you are not required to supply Presenter Confirmations as essential support material but should consider supplying letters of support from selected presenters/communities to support your application.

Additional information

Once you submit your application, we will send you an email acknowledging receipt of your application.

After you submit your application, we first check it meets the eligibility criteria for the grant or opportunity to which you are applying.

Applications to the Australia Council Grant Programs are assessed by arts practice peer panels against the published assessment criteria for the relevant grant program.

We aim to notify you of the outcome of your application no later than 12 weeks after the published closing date for the applicable grant round.

Once all applications have been assessed, you will be contacted about the outcome of your application. If you have been successful, you will also be sent a funding agreement. This outlines the conditions of funding, how you will be paid and your grant reporting requirements. The following accordion items outline these stages in more detail.

If your application is successful, you will receive an email advising you a grant is offered. You must then agree to the conditions of your grant, which represents the Australia Council’s contract with you – this can be done online, by email or by letter. Payment of a grant will not be made until the grant conditions have been agreed and accepted by all the relevant parties.

You should not start a project that depends on a grant until all relevant parties have agreed and accepted the grant conditions and we have evidence of such acceptance on file.

Standard grant conditions require you to, among other things:

  • seek prior approval for making a change to a funded project (for example, changes in the activity budget; changes to key creative personnel; or changes to start or end dates)
  • respond to requests for information about the project or grant
  • satisfactorily account for how the grant is spent (if you do not you will be required to return all monies for which you cannot satisfactorily account)
  • comply with all applicable laws
  • acknowledge the Australia Council’s support in all promotional material associated with the project; this includes use of the Australia Council’s logo and a standard text of acknowledgement.
  • provide artistic and financial acquittal reports at the end of the project
  • return any unspent grant funds at the completion of your project or on notice from us to return such unspent funds.

Grant agreements must be signed by a legal entity – either a legally constituted organisation or an individual. For unincorporated groups, see the section on administered grants

All individual or organisation grant applicants based in Australia must have an ABN. Individual applicants without an ABN may have their grant administered by an individual or organisation with an ABN. Organisations operating outside of Australia do not need an ABN to apply. Individuals based outside of Australia may not need an ABN to apply, depending on their circumstances (please check with your accountant or tax advisor).

The name of the applicant must match the name of the ABN and the name of the bank account into which we pay the funds. There are no exceptions to this rule. If applicants cannot provide an ABN and bank account that are in the same name as the applicant’s name, they will need to nominate an administrator for their grant.

Groups/ensembles/collectives, unincorporated associations/ unincorporated entities and other bodies with no legal status do not need an administrator if they have an active Australian Business Number (ABN) and bank account in their name. If they are unable to provide an active ABN and bank account that matches the name of the applicant, they must nominate an administrator. The name of the administrator must match the name of the ABN and bank account into which funds are paid if the application is successful.

If we approve your application you will need accept the conditions of the grant in a funding agreement.

After you accept your funding agreement online, we will automatically generate a payment for the grant on your behalf. You do not need to send us an invoice.

We will pay grant funds directly into your nominated bank account within two weeks after acceptance of the funding agreement. Grant payments cannot be postponed.

If you do not wish to have the grant funds paid directly into your bank account you can choose to have your grant administered by another individual or legally constituted organisation (Doesn’t apply to Arts Projects – Organisations).

When you apply, you will be asked to provide an active Australian Business Number or ‘ABN’. The ABN that you provide must correspond to the name of the applicant (or the administering body, if one has been nominated). When you accept your funding agreement, you will be asked to enter the details of the bank account you wish the grant to be paid into. The name associated with that bank account must correspond to the name in which the ABN has been registered.

Download the Australia Council for the Arts logo guidelines here.

Download the Major Festivals Initiative logo guidelines here.

Grant reports are required on completion of your project. Acquitting a grant means accurately reporting on the funded activities and the expenditure of Australia Council funding.

Please read your funding agreement to check details of the grant acquittal material you should provide.

The grant acquittal report is where you tell us:

  • how you spent your grant
  • what the artistic outcomes of your funded activity were.

If you do not provide a satisfactory grant report at the times and in the manner detailed in your funding agreement, the Australia Council will not make any further payments that may be due to you, and you will not be eligible  to apply for further grants.

If you do not provide a satisfactory grant report, the Australia Council may ask you to pay back all or part of the funding provided to you.

Grant reports are used by the Australia Council to fulfil obligations of accountability to the Australian Government. They are also essential to the development work of the Australia Council. The reports help us evaluate the achievements of funded activities, monitor the effectiveness of grant categories and ensure our policy development is consistent with the experience of artists in the field.

Reporting for Multi-year Funded Organisations

Organisations in receipt of multi-year funding are required to submit financial, statistical, and artistic reporting on an annual basis.

All reporting is submitted online via the Australia Council’s arts organisations reporting system.

If you are not sure what reporting you need to submit as part of your annual reporting, or what information to provide, please get in touch with your Australia Council contact.

All recipients must acknowledge that the Australia Council provided funding for their activities. When you acquit your grant, we will ask you how you acknowledged the Australia Council.

For printed or online material use our logo and this phrase:

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body OR The (company name) is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Logos for download and guidelines for the use of our logos.

Where projects do not have a public outcome, or do not produce any printed or online material, you will need to think about how best to acknowledge the Australia Council funding.

Playing Australia Multi-Year Investment FAQ’s

Under this fund a national tour is three or more locations outside of your home state. A break in the middle of a consecutive schedule of locations is possible if there is a compelling reason and the impact on the funding request is minimal. 

A professional production is one where the performers and artistic personnel are paid at the appropriate recognised industry level.

To be eligible for this investment, the work/s needs to be produced by an Australian company or produced by an artist or collective of artists who are Australian citizens or have permanent resident status in Australia. The content of the work, the writer, composer or choreographer are not required to be Australian. An eligible work could also include a percentage of international performers as part of an Australian co-production.

We welcome national touring applications from all forms of professionally produced live performance across theatre, dance and music.

The Australia Council also offers the Contemporary Music Touring Program. If you are interested in touring music nationally please contact an Artists Services Officer to determine which category is most suitable for your tour.

This Australia Council, as do many government departments and agencies, uses the ARIA (Accessibility Remoteness Index of Australia) to determine the regional and remote classification for each town. The ARIA considers a range of factors, including distance to services, to group all locations in Australia into 5 ARIA Code areas. To find out if your project meets the eligible criteria (i.e. inclusion of venues with an ARIA rating of 1-4) and search for the relevant ARIA codes, please download this form.

Yes, provided you meet the eligibility requirement of including regional and or remote locations in your itinerary. Please note there is no quota or ratio required for regional and remote versus metropolitan locations. However, applicants must note that the purpose of the program is to support regional and remote access.

Yes, your itinerary can include activities that offer additional opportunities for the community to engage with the performers or art, which reflect the engagement strategy provided in your application. As the focus of this fund is performances, additional activities should be scheduled in an efficient way within the itinerary.

Depending on prevailing COVID-19 conditions  engagement strategies should consider COVIDSafe delivery requirements.

  • interstate net touring costs and tour coordination fees. Applicants should research the net touring costs based on current prices and add a reasonable contingency to each item
  • budgets may include a portion of costs associated with a remount of an existing production. In your application and budget please ensure you clearly outline the costs involved, ensuring they are eligible.
  • Where appropriate, please show how presenter fees have been reduced to provide them with relief on this expense. Be sure to show what costs the presenter will be liable for (this could include venue costs, marketing, a proportion of wages for the touring party, and any in-kind costs).
  • carbon offsets or other similar programs to reduce carbon emissions, or other activity which reduces the environmental impact of the tour
  • wellbeing programs (i.e. Employment Assistance Programs) or other activity which provides support for the company whilst on tour.

Depending on prevailing COVID-19 conditions applicants may request a contribution towards for costs associated with CovidSafe delivery of touring:

  • additional cleaning costs
  • touring costs for understudies or additional crew in the touring party (travel, accommodation, allowances) to mitigate against risk of illness within the touring party
  • costs for Personal Protective Equipment or other safety equipment.
  • accommodation, travel fares and transport costs for the touring party
  • relevant industrial award rates for travel allowances for the touring party
  • freight costs for the set and production elements.

The ‘touring party’ is defined as the performers, crew and other personnel required to stage the show.  In the application outline the members of your touring party.

This fund provides support to cover travel allowances at the rate set by the appropriate industry award plus contingency for scheduled increases. Productions that pay above the award rate or have their own certified agreement will need to find alternative sources to cover the difference.

The tour coordination fees support the cost of managing the tour logistics and travel bookings, providing a contribution towards those costs at a set rate of $550 per venue. The rate is automatically provided in the budget form and applicants are eligible to receive the tour coordination fee for venues outside of their home state.

You are required to provide a budget and itinerary for the first year of touring (2023). If you are successful in receiving Playing Australia Multi Year Investment you will be required to submit annually, a budget and itinerary for the following year (for 2024 – 2025). This material will be reviewed for eligibility based on the published guidelines and criteria, before the next instalment of investment is paid.

You may carry forward unspent funds into 2024 and 2025, though at the conclusion of the project and following the final acquittal, you will be required to return any unspent funds.

Some projects might have performers based in various states or perhaps the tour is managed by a tour coordinator from a different state or territory. For the purposes of this fund one ‘home state’ needs to be nominated to calculate the interstate versus intrastate costs. Generally, the ‘home state’ will be the street address of the production company. However, all applicants with different state or territory involvement should discuss with an Artists Services Officer to confirm the appropriate ‘home’ base for their application.

Depending on prevailing COVID-19 conditions, shorter tours which target a particular state or region are appropriate. In your application you should address the overall rationale of your tour itinerary in the context of COVID-19. Tours must still include 3 or more venues, including locations outside of metropolitan areas.

We will continue to work with clients whose touring activity is impacted by COVID-19 on an individual basis.