The Australia Council welcomes the return of funding announced today by the Minister for the Arts.
Australia Council Chief Executive Tony Grybowski said the return of $8 million per annum would partially address the $31.4 million impact of the 2015-16 budget measures, the majority of which affected the Council’s peer assessed grants program and strategic projects.
“I am pleased this will enable us to increase investment in the two core grant rounds for 2015-16, providing project support for individuals, groups and small to medium organisations to create and present work, as well as a range of other arts activity. The flexibility of the Council’s new grants model will allow us to immediately allocate funds. This will have an immediate impact on the success rates in the current grant round, with outcomes to be announced in early December, as well as the next grant round which closes in February,” Mr Grybowski said.
“Following the May Budget announcements the Council had to cancel two of our four core grant rounds for this year, with $12 million to be invested through those rounds in contrast to the $26 million intended. The Council is now able to increase that investment to $19 million for this year. In addition, the Council will be in a position to deliver a small number of our suspended activities by directing $1 million back into strategic projects. This will benefit national and international market and audience development, as well as strategic development support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts.
“In 2016-17 the Council will deliver three core grant rounds with an overall investment of approximately $18 million. We consider this to be the minimum viable level, compared to the planned $26 million intended through four rounds. Our new Four Year Funding Program for small to medium organisations will commence in January 2017, delivering a revised version of the Six Year Funding Program which was to begin in January 2016. This replaces the Key Organisation program which currently supports 147 organisations until it concludes in December 2016. Multi-year core program funding for this vital part of the arts sector is critical to sustainability and artistic vibrancy. Following today’s announcement the Council is able to invest approximately $22 million in the Four Year Funding program, which provides a level of stability..
“The Council is committed to delivering on the strategic goals in our approved Corporate Plan. This Plan articulates our leadership role in fostering a dynamic and sustainable national arts sector, and supporting new opportunities for diverse audiences to experience Australia’s rich arts and culture.
“In addition to our grants program, the Council’s strategic goals will be realised through our national and international strategic development activities, sector capacity building, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Arts development – acknowledging the budget for this work has been reduced by half. This will be complemented by our advocacy activities which include an enhanced research program and a focus on leveraging new investment in Australian arts.
Mr Grybowski said the Council was committed to working collaboratively with the Ministry for the Arts and Creative Partnerships Australia, to promote artistic excellence and creative innovation, and in support of the Council’s vision for a culturally ambitious nation.