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.
The minister's office stated that the changes would help pave the way for a collaborative focus on the priority work of connecting the arts sector to the broader innovation agenda. The Australia Council welcomed the return of funding announced today by the Minister for the Arts, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield.
The Australia Council stated it remains committed to its 2014-19 Strategic Plan and reformed grants program which has increased access to support for a broader range of artists and organisations. The uncommitted funds will be directed towards the Australia Council’s existing grants program.
The Australia Council described the news as a positive long term change for the Australian arts sector, by providing increased support for the Australia Council’s sector driven funding model, and greater clarity around the architecture of arts investment at the Commonwealth level.
Union representatives Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, warned the move may have come too late to save small arts projects and organisations.The MEAA said the move had been “long overdue” but that the government should now allocate extra cash to implement the recommendations of the Opera Review or risk having to raid funding that should be allocated to small and medium-sized organisations.