Broadcasting and the arts

Budget Review 2009-10 Index

Budget 2009 10:Broadcasting and the arts


John Gardiner-Garden

In the area of arts policy, the 2009–10 Budget offered few surprises.[1]

Commitments to collecting institutions such as the National Library, National Film and Sound Archive, National Archives and National Museum of Australia were unexceptional and despite some discussion over the last year, these agencies remain subject to the 1.25 per cent efficiency dividend. The National Museum was given the go-ahead to explore ways to increase exhibition and storage space but no additional funding was committed. The National Library was granted $805 000 for 2009–2010 to lead a project to find ways to digitise some of the National Library, National Film and Sound Archive and National Archive collections and collect digital material such as web-pages. Screen Australia had its 2009 Budget allocation reduced in the anticipation that the producer tax offset will increase other sources of revenue to the industry.

In two specific areas the Budget delivered on Labor Party commitments made prior to the 2007 election:

  • in the area of Indigenous art, the Budget committed $9.3 million through the National Arts and Craft Industry Support Program to expand support for the operations of art centres, ensuring appropriate staffing, training and salaries for art centres’ employees, and addressing poor recruitment and retention rates in art centres in remote areas. $600 000 was committed towards funding the implementation of a long discussed Indigenous art industry code of conduct[2]
  • in the area of supporting young and emerging artists, the Budget committed $9.6 million over four years to an Artstart program offering graduate artists in any discipline the opportunity to apply for one-off grants to assist them in starting their business as professional artists. The Budget also committed new money for bodies which are used as stepping-stones for young artists: $5.4 million over four years to the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Australian Ballet School, and Australian Youth Orchestra; $100 000 to each of the Canberra and Darwin Symphony Orchestras; and $1 million for the Australia Council to assist small to medium arts organisations.

The Budget also committed $4 million over four years to support the touring of cultural collections across Australia and overseas and the bringing of international exhibitions to Australia. A new Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance Program to replace the Art Indemnity Australia program (at a saving of $15.8 million) was also announced.

The Budget offered continued support to the Books Alive promotion of reading and Australian authors ($8 million over four years) and to the Melba Foundation’s program of recordings of Australia’s finest classical musicians ($2.3 million over three years).

[1].    See P Garrett (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts) and J Macklin (Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs), Strengthening Australia's Indigenous visual arts sector, media release, Canberra, 12 May 2009, viewed 16 May 2009,

[2].    P Garrett (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts), $62.3 million for arts and culture, media release, Canberra, 12 May 2009, viewed 16 May 2009,