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ArtsHub’s Richard Watts on 2024 Federal Budget

Richard Watts, Budget 2024-25: what’s in it for the arts?, ArtsHub, 15 May 2024

Arts education, live music and screen content for children are among the areas targeted for investment in Tuesday’s Federal Budget.

A total of $115.2 million for the ARTS8 group – the eight elite national training institutions including the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), the Flying Fruit Fly Circus and the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) – is one of the centrepiece investments of the Albanese Labor Government’s 2024-2025 Federal Budget.

The screen sector is also a beneficiary this year, with the Budget including $14.5 million to support the production of Australian children’s screen content, and a further $9.3 million to expand and enhance the National Film and Sound Archive’s (NFSA) capacity to store highly flammable nitrate-based cultural heritage material.

The Budget also includes $8.6 million for the Revive Live program, providing support to live music venues and festivals that showcase Australian bands and artists: a much-needed investment in light of the many Australian music festivals that have gone on hiatus or been cancelled this year.

The Government’s latest investment in Australian live music follows the recent release of Creative Australia’s ‘Soundcheck’ report into the state of the music festival sector, which found that 47% of music festival organisers say their events are being adversely affected by rising operational costs, while more than one in three music festivals (35%) reported a deficit in the 2022–23 financial year.

The challenging economic environment has resulted in the cancellation of numerous music festivals in the past 12 months, including Splendour in the Grass, Groovin’ the Moo and Falls Festival.

A further $5.2 million of Federal Government funding has been allocated to support the expansion and development of the Canberra and Darwin Symphony Orchestras.

A Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) spokesperson said the additional $1 million over the next four years would support the Orchestra’s touring activities and also ensure its performances and music education opportunities were more accessible to families and communities across the territory.

The new funding will also support the Orchestra’s musicians, of which more than 100 are volunteers.

‘This incredible boost will allow us to expand our programs, nurture the next generation of musicians, and bring more inspiring performances to communities across the Northern Territory. For the first time in DSO’s history, we will be able to provide all of our Principal musicians with secure, paid roles from 2025 onwards,’ said the Orchestra in a media release.

Building on existing commitments

Minister for the Arts Tony Burke said in a statement: ‘The Government’s [Budget] investments will support our live music scene, promote more Australian stories and reinforce our world-class arts training organisations.