NSW: Budget Cuts affect the Arts, 2012

 
The Liberals & Nationals Government has announced an investment of more than $345 million to support the NSW’s vibrant arts and cultural industry in the 2011-12 Budget.

The Liberals & Nationals Government has announced an investment of
more than $345 million to support the NSW’s vibrant arts and cultural
industry in the 2011-12 Budget.

Minister for the Arts, George Souris, recognised that the arts sector is a “key driver in the community”, and claims that this Budget demonstrates the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to the arts sector. 

“The Government will provide $58.2 million for the 2012 Arts Funding Program (AFP) which will offer support to arts and cultural organisations as well as individuals across the State for creative programs, projects and tours”, Mr Souris said. 

While this figure seems large, it is nothing compared with the $272 million set aside for Cultural Institutions like the Sydney Opera House and The Powerhouse Museum upgrades (see breakdown below). $905,000 will be spent on a roof upgrade at the Harwood Building, while $1.5 million over four years will be given to the Short and Sweet Theatre regional outreach program. 

Only $1.7 million has been set aside for the 2012 Sydney Festival, with $500,000 for the event’s expansion in Western Sydney.

Mr Souris said the Budget also invests in NSW’s world-class institutions to enhance cultural, creative and recreational opportunities and develop the State’s cultural heritage.

The Sydney Opera House is set to receive the most money from the Budget this year, with $99.1 Million in recurrent and capital funding to the Sydney Opera House, including $27.1 million over four years to upgrade its stage management system and lifts. 

Other Cultural Institution funding for NSW (securing $272 million from the $345 million total) 

• $79.3 million in recurrent and capital funding for the State Library including $4 million over four years to provide $2 million through a Regional Library Top-Up Fund and $2 million to fast track the roll out of wireless technology to public libraries in rural and regional NSW;

• $34.8 million in recurrent and capital funding for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum) with $1.9 million to upgrade accessibility of its facilities and $905,000 to complete the roof replacement of the Harwood Building at Ultimo;

• $30.2 million in recurrent and capital funding for the Art Gallery of NSW, including an additional $1 million for maintenance of the facility over the next four years;

• $28.9 million in recurrent and capital funding to the Australian Museum including an additional $4.3 million over the next four years to operate the new Collections and Research Building, and building and collection storage maintenance.

In addition, Mr Souris said that the Budget also has $8.5 million in recurrent and capital funding for Screen NSW to “foster and facilitate creative excellence and commercial growth in the screen industry in NSW”. However, in reality, NSW film and television funding has been slashed: the Screen Production Investment fund contributions worth $5 million is to be abolished, after being in place for only 2 years.

Mr Souris believes this Budget will “provide more opportunities for people across NSW to connect with and celebrate arts and culture in all its diversity”.

What do you think?  

 

Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *