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Federal budget backs sport and activity, disappoints arts and tourism
In addition to widely reported personal tax cuts, Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison’s 2018/19 budget is to provide additional funds to support grassroots sport and help ensure Australians stay active.
A centerpiece of the Federal budget, $154.3 million has been being pledged over five years to get Australians, particularly children, more physically active.
A total of $41.7 million of the funding will be directly for the Sporting Schools Program to expand to a total of 5,200 primary schools and 500 secondary schools to provide free sport based activities for students.
Community sporting facilities will get a boost through 500 infrastructure development grants of up to $500,000 each, and nearly $30 million will be given to various National Sporting Organisations over four years to increase participation in sport.
The Australian Sports Commission will get $20 million over four years to fund sporting organisations and athletes; while nearly $12 million will go to the Local Sporting Champions program to help young Australians compete at state, national and international events.
More than $10 million will be spent on improving anti-doping and drug testing activities and $6 million has been set aside over four years to develop the Safe Sports Australia program and a national sports injury database.
A further $3.4 million over four years will be spent on the AusPlay national sport and physical activity participation survey to understand the nation's activity habits.
However, the bduget contained little detail on specific spending women's sport, although some programs were announced for women's health and well-being.
The budget also confirmed the previously announced sum of $4 million to Football Federation Australia to assist in preparing a bid for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Further detail on Federal support for grassroots sport will be announced in a new National Spors Plan scheduled to be released later this year.
In the arts, the Federal budget has not increased funding for the Australia Council, but has allocated almost $50 million over four years to makr the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's voyage to the South Pacific and Australia.
No attempt has been made to reverse cuts wrought on the sector in 2015 by then Minister for the Arts George Brandis when $104.8 million was over four years to set up his own funding program, subsequently known as Catalyst.
Instead, Treasurer Morrison’s latest budget cuts $83.7 million from the ABC over four years, with savings redirected to celebrations of the Cook voyage, and the screen sector.
Funding for the Cook anniversary includes a major redevelopment of Sydney’s Meeting Place Precinct at Botany Bay, commemorating the first meeting between Captain Cook and Aboriginal Australians. The memorial stands within Morrison's own electorate of Cook.
Peak body for the performing arts sector, Live Performance Australia (LPA) said the 2018/19 budget represented a missed opportunity by the Federal Government to demonstrate its support for the $2.5 billion Australian performance sector.
LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson stated “this Budget is a big disappointment for live performance. There's nothing there in terms of new policy initiatives or investment to support the live performance industry’s growth and sustain the 34,000 jobs in metropolitan and regional areas supported by the industry.”
Given that more than 18 million people across Australia attend live performances annually, Richardson said it was time for “the Turnbull Government to reflect on the economic and cultural contribution our industry makes to Australia with a broader vision and some long-term, strategic policy initiatives that support its future growth.”
In tourism, a range of tranport infrastructure projects are being backed while $45 million has been allocated in regional tourism grants and, reversing last year’s cuts, an additional $5.1 million has been allocted to Tourism Australia over the next four years.
However, Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has said the budget “missed a golden opportunity to reap the benefits from substantially increasing its funding for Tourism Australia”.
TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond stated “after what can only be described as a disappointing budget for the tourism sector last year, there will be some relief across the sector tonight with $140 million to secure Australia’s position as one of the world’s leading film production destinations, $45 million in regional tourism grants and a big commitment to deliver badly needed infrastructure projects right across the country.”
The budget also saw the introduction of a so-called ‘fame tax’ that will see high profile sportspeople and entertainers who licence their image rights under a company or business pay tax on all the income and non-cash benefits they receive.
Elite athletes and celebrities currently have the ability to license their name and image to a business, which can contract work on their behalf while they receive a salary.
At present companies pay 30% tax, but only on profits, So if they claim their expenses as a business cost, the result can see them pay little or no tax.
Images: Female football (top, courtesy of Football Federation Victoria) and the budget will back the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's voyage to Australia (below, courtesy of the National Maritime Museum, London).
6th February 2018 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROVIDES $4 MILLION FOR FFA’S WOMENS WORLD CUP BID
17th November 2017 - NEW AUSPLAY FIGURES SHOW FOOTBALL LEADS SPORT PARTICIPATION RATES IN AUSTRALIA
12th March 2016 - TTF REVEALS PLAN FOR TOURISM TO ‘TURBOCHARGE’ THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY
3rd September 2015 - LIVE PERFORMANCE INDUSTRY WORTH MORE THAN $1.51 BILLION TO THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY
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