Dr John Gardiner-Garden
The 2012–13 federal Budget did not, despite earlier expectations, end up being the vehicle to launch a new national cultural policy. The development of this policy began in 2009 with the setting up of a steering committee, and continued in the follow years with the issuing of a discussion paper, commencement of consultations, receipt of hundreds of submissions and the commissioning of a review of government support for philanthropy and a review of the Arts Council. It is now anticipated that the new cultural policy, incorporating the Government’s response to the philanthropy and Australia Council reviews will be unveiled later this year.
The Budget did include an extra $39.3 million over four years to help national institutions open up their collections for community, education and research use. This funding comes in the context of the Collections Councils of Australia and the Collections Australia Network being defunded in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The Budget also included $3.2 million over two years to help the Australia Business Arts Foundation prepare its response to the Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts; $3 million over four years to boost contemporary music industry innovation and export; $2 million in 2011–12 contribution to the construction of the Antipodes Centre for Greek Culture, Heritage and Language in Melbourne; $1.5 million in 2011–12 to support capital works for the creation of the Islamic Museum of Australia in the heart of Melbourne; $1.6 million over four years to help the Australian National Academy of Music provide elite level brass and percussion training; and $700 000 to support two more years of funding the resale royalty scheme for visual artists and a post-implementation review of the scheme. The cost of providing $2.7 million over three years to establish the National Portrait Gallery as a separate statutory authority (‘to bring it into line with other major national cultural institutions’ and give it ‘deserved recognition as an iconic national institution’), is to be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.
The Budget also reported a $12.8 million contribution to the filming of The Wolverine for the financial year 2011–12. This had been announced in April 2012 with Minister Crean referring to it as ‘a one-off payment of which will trigger more than $80 million of investment in Australia, create more than 2000 jobs and reaffirm our nation's status as one of the world's best filming destinations’. According to the Budget Paper No.2 it is ‘in addition to the Location Tax Offset which provides a 16.5 per cent refundable tax offset for the production of large-budget international film and television projects shot in Australia’. Considering there has already been a debate about the liberality involved in the use of existing film-support mechanisms, this ‘out-of-channel’ funding of a film project may end up attracting the same sort of debate as did the ‘out-of channel’ funding of Melba Records by successive governments between 2004 and 2011. Perhaps anticipating this Minister Crean has said screen industry issues would be addressed by the National Cultural Policy.
. S Crean (Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Minister for the Arts), Government building the future for arts and creativity, media release, 8 May 2012, viewed 9 May 2012. The funding will apply to the Australian National Maritime Museum, the National Archives of Australia, the Bundanon Trust, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
. Ben Eltham, Millions for a tiny record label with powerful players, crikey web-site, 5 April 2012, viewed 10 May 2012.
. S Crean (Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Minister for the Arts), and J Gillard (Prime Minister), The Wolverine to film in Australia, media release, 20 April 2012, viewed 9 May 2012: ‘The issues facing the screen industry are a focus of the National Cultural Policy and as such, will remain on the Government's agenda in the coming years.’
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