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$311 million investment in NSW arts and culture

$311 million investment in NSW arts and culture
June 20, 2013

The 2013/14 NSW Budget is provides an investment of $311 million to support the State's vibrant arts, cultural and screen sectors to build jobs and enrich communities.

The Budget provides $250 million - $185 million in operating grants plus $65 million for infrastructure upgrades - for the NSW's cultural institutions and a further $51 million for Arts NSW's 2014 Arts Funding Program (AFP) to support a wide range of arts and cultural activities, programs and projects across the State including specific categories to support regional activities.

Explaining the funding, Minister for the Arts George Souris stated "supporting artists and arts and cultural activities encourages excellence and innovation and increases access to arts and culture for all.

"Funding for the sector delivered in this Budget will be complemented by the development of the State's first Arts and Cultural Policy which will outline a 10-year vision for the sector.

"A review of the Arts Funding Program will also ensure that we have an effective, efficient, equitable and sustainable funding model to support artists and arts and cultural organisations across the State."

Minister Souris said the 2014 Arts Funding Program highlights include:

• $11 million for the State's 11 major performing arts companies including the Australian Ballet, Opera Australia and Bangarra Dance Theatre;
• New three-year funding commitments for the Museum of Contemporary Art and Carriageworks Ltd, totalling $15.3 million over the next three years;
• $6.2 million to support the State's major festivals - Sydney Festival, Sydney Writers' Festival and Biennale of Sydney;
• $2 million to the State's 14 Regional Arts Boards to support sustainable arts and cultural development in regional NSW;
• $1 million for 16 devolved grants programs which support opportunities for individuals and small arts and cultural organisations many of which are based in regional NSW
• Five project categories solely focused on regional activities: Aboriginal Regional Arts Fund; Performing Arts Touring; Regional Capital; Regional Conservatorium and Regional Partnerships.

Minister Souris said the tight budgetary environment emphasised the importance of allocating limited resources effectively to meet the needs of the sector while ensuring sustainable growth and productivity, adding "in a difficult economic climate, this Budget takes responsible decisions to ensure a sustainable financial future for our State's arts and cultural sector while continuing to invest in growing a creative economy focused on innovative excellence.

"Every year the Arts Funding Program funds hundreds of individuals and organisations in all forms of artistic and cultural practice, across metropolitan, regional and rural NSW."

Minister Souris said the Budget's $185 million in operating grants to the cultural institutions will help develop NSW's cultural heritage, ensuring they continue to make a significant contribution to the State's economy as well as provide creative and recreational opportunities.

He explained "$65 million has been allocated to the cultural institutions for infrastructure upgrades, particularly the Sydney Opera House, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and State Library of NSW, to maintain the State's cultural assets and benefit the community and economy."

Minister Souris also explained that recurrent and capital Budget allocations to the major cultural institutions include:

• $70 million for the Sydney Opera House including continued work on its Vehicle and Pedestrian Access Project, stage management system, lifts and escalators and electrical switchboard and cabling
• $80 million for the State Library including, $7.1 million for the Digital Excellence program to progressively digitise 52 of the most valuable, iconic and 'at risk' collections such as World War I era newspapers and the David Scott Mitchell collections, enabling greater access for the community.
• $26 million to the Australian Museum including operating expenses and some minor capital works projects for science equipment, public programs and exhibition spaces;
• $46 million to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences including funding its major capital works project at the Castle Hill shared storage facility to provide extra storage and public access to collections from the Powerhouse Museum, Australian Museum and Historic Houses Trust; &
• $27 million to the Art Gallery of NSW for its annual operating costs and ongoing building maintenance.

He concluded "there is also support for our film and television industry via Screen NSW which will receive nearly $10 million in 2013-14 in recurrent and capital funding to support NSW screen projects, deliver pitches for international and national film and television productions, and market NSW as Australia's premier screen production destination.

"I can also confirm $24.5 million in 2014/15 to advance plans for the transformation of the Sydney Opera House and the Art Gallery of NSW."

Funding for the Sydney Opera House and Art Gallery of NSW in 2014-15 includes:

• $13.7 million to the Sydney Opera House to develop a major renewal plan
• $10.8 million to the Art Gallery of NSW for design works to develop the building extension project.

Image: Art Gallery of NSW



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