8 May 2007
Australian Government funding to Australia’s major performing arts companies will increase by 35 per cent, injecting $24.1 million in new funding to twenty companies over the next four years.
“This is a great day for the performing arts of Australia. Today’s announcement represents the highest level of funding for the sector ever provided by the Australian Government, and ensures that Australia’s major performing arts companies will continue to operate at an international standard,” the Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator George Brandis said.
“The increased funding will ensure the sustainability of major performing arts companies like the Bell Shakespeare Company, Musica Viva Australia and The Queensland Ballet. It will ultimately reinforce the reputation enjoyed by our major performing arts companies for producing the highest quality performing arts.”
A 2006 review of the major performing arts companies found that most companies had strengthened their financial position and increased their revenue from non-government sources. This additional funding will increase the organisations’ artistic capacity and in the case of a small number of organisations, improve long-term financial viability.
In recognition of the benefit that major performing arts companies bring to their host States, t he Australian Government will seek matched funding from State governments through the Cultural Ministers’ Council, in accordance with the existing agreed funding ratios for each company. With State contributions, the total value of this commitment to major performing companies would rise to $36 million.
Additional Australian Government funding of $36 million for the State symphony orchestras, Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia, has already been provided separately as a result of the outcomes of the Strong Review of Orchestras.
Companies to receive increased base funding are : Bell Shakespeare Company, Black Swan Theatre Company, Circus Oz, Company B, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, State Theatre Company of SA, Sydney Theatre Company, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Musica Viva Australia, Opera Queensland, State Opera of SA, West Australian Opera, The Australian Ballet, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Queensland Ballet, Sydney Dance Company and West Australian Ballet.
Media contact: Travis Bell 0448 950 248
35 per cent increase in funding for Australia’s major performing arts companies
Why is this important?
- The additional funding will secure the ongoing sustainability of twenty major performing arts companies.
- The funding will resolve the financial issues that some of Australia’s leading performing arts companies are facing, including the Sydney Dance Company.
- The increased base funding will ensure that the major performing arts companies are able to:
- maintain and present high quality artistic programmes;
- strengthen business practices and capacity to attract non-government streams of income, enhancing their self-sufficiency;
- improve skills development opportunities for creative and performing artists;
- improve access through education, touring and community programmes; and
- showcase Australia’s best performing arts in overseas markets.
Who will benefit?
- Funding is provided to 20 of the major performing arts companies - Bell Shakespeare Company, Black Swan Theatre Company, Circus Oz, Company B, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, State Theatre Company of SA, Sydney Theatre Company, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Musica Viva Australia, Opera Queensland, State Opera of SA, West Australian Opera, The Australian Ballet, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Queensland Ballet, Sydney Dance Company and West Australian Ballet.
- Funding does not include the State symphony orchestras, Orchestra Victoria or Opera Australia, whose funding levels were addressed in the government’s response to James Strong’s 2005 Review and through further examination of the opera and ballet orchestras in 2006.
- The funding will benefit a combined audience of 2.4 million Australians who attend over 4,000 major performing arts performances each year, almost 1 million children who attend special performances, combined annual international audiences of approximately 86,000 and artists and arts workers associated with major performing arts companies.
What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?
- The Government is investing an additional $24.1 million over four years. This represents an average increase of 35 per cent on 2006 Australian Government funding for the 20 companies ($16.96m).
- Major performing arts companies receive funding on a calendar year basis and the funding increase will be provided to the companies as an increase to their 2008 base grant allocations.
- The companies will receive funding increases of up to 218 per cent depending on he analysis of the funding model (the extent of artistic programme against the capacity of the company to raise non-government revenue) and need for each company.
What have we done in the past?
- The 2000 Major Performing Arts Inquiry established a transparent and consistent approach to funding for the major performing arts companies, which moved away from ad hoc funding increases on the basis of lobbying and influence to focusing on artistic programmes and marketplaces.
- In line with the Inquiry’s recommendation, the funding model for these companies has been reviewed twice. The first review, in 2003, found that the companies were progressing well and that no increase in base funding was warranted.
- The 2006 review of the funding model found that the companies have strengthened their financial position and increased their incomes from non-government sources, but that their operational costs continue to rise at a higher rate than inflation, leading to reduced artistic capacity and in some cases, significant financial difficulty.
- In 2006, the 20 major performing arts companies affected by this funding increase received Australian Government base funding of $16.96 million. Australian Government funding for these companies will now rise to $22.9 m in 2008.
When will the initiative conclude?
- The funding is ongoing, but base funding levels will be considered under the funding model review scheduled for 2009-10.