Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Cuts to federal museums

Source: AJP.

MYFEO features cuts to collecting institutions

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) released in the second week of December announced cuts of $52.5 million from the arts and culture budget over the next four years. Museums, galleries and other collecting organisations have been hit the hardest. $36.8 million is to be taken from the following cultural and collecting organisations:

  • Australian National Maritime Museum
  • Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
  • National Gallery of Australia
  • National Library of Australia
  • National Museum of Australia
  • National Portrait Gallery.

The Australian War Memorial (which is under the Department of Veteran’s Affairs) and Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre (which recently received increased support via the National Inspiring Australia Strategy) have not been affected by the cuts.

The full impact on each of the institutions will become apparent in the new year but it is understood that the larger institutions are likely to experience cuts of between $1.2 million and $1.5 million per year over the next four years.  This could result in staff reductions and a potential cut to outreach or touring activities.

It is expected that the Department of Communications and the Arts will also lose $6 million of its budget on top of the 2.5% efficiency dividend being enforced across the federal bureaucracy.

The ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, said the increased efficiency dividends would hurt Canberra by inflicting damage on the cornerstones of the city’s tourism industry.

Plans for a Book Council of Australia – which was to strengthen the profile of Australian writing with a promised $6m over three years – have been scrapped.   Minister Fifield is to consult with the literary community about alternative sector-led mechanisms for representation and promotion in the new year.

Screen Australia will  lose $10.4 million over four years – 3 per cent of its budget – in its third round of cuts in 18 months.

While Australia arts and screen producers are facing cuts, MYEFO announced that $47.3 million over two years will go towards Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, to be filmed at Sydney’s Fox Studios, and the next instalment of the Marvel Studios action franchise Thor.

Meredith Foley
CAMD Executive Officer

See also:

Museums Australia Media Release, Museums Australia argues that funding cuts to the national cultural institutions are contrary to the Government’s innovation agenda, 17 December 2015

Tom McIIroy, Canberra Airport boss Stephen Byron sounds warning on arrival numbers amid federal budget cuts, The Canberra Times, 21 December 2015

Van Badham, The government’s cultural barbarism and plunder of the arts, continued, The Guardian, 18 December 2015


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