New music and culture investments welcomed – but where is the creative road map?

The 2019 Budget highlights the urgent need for a roadmap for the future of the whole of the Australian Arts. AMPAG welcomes the Morrison Government’s commitment to addressing key gaps and challenges in the contemporary live music sector, but the Budget falls short of meaningful reform or investment for the whole of the Arts industry.

New music and culture investments welcomed – but where is the creative road map?


The Government’s announcement of $30.9 million in new funding for live music and to create more opportunities for Australia’s artists to compete in a global industry addresses key gaps and challenges in the live music sector. The funding will be directed primarily to live music venues, touring, market access in Asia and indigenous and female musicians. AMPAG supports these initiatives.

AMPAG has consistently advocated on the importance of arts infrastructure, of touring to regional access, of direct investment in indigenous performers and of programs to support artist access to new markets. The Government commits to these strategies for the contemporary music sector. AMPAG supports the growth of independent artists and small to medium companies and applauds this initiative. However, these strategies should be deployed in the context of a vision for the entire Arts industry.

AMPAG welcomes funding in individual projects, for the Bundanon Trust Art Centre and in Australia's new writing theatre, the Griffin Theatre. Along with an investment in the Huon Valley art installation, government recognises the important contribution of the Arts to cultural heritage and tourism activity. These announcements represent new investment in the Arts, which we whole heartily applaud, but we are reticent about the ad-hoc approach taken by government.

We believe a systematic approach is needed to leverage the value of the Arts and creative industries which contribute $4.2 billion to Australia’s GDP.

AMPAG, along with an alliance of performing arts peak organisations,[1] believe an industry roadmap should bring together the following priorities:

  • Establish a National Indigenous Arts and Cultural Authority to provide leadership and representation for traditional knowledge and cultural expression and in recognition of the important links between art and culture and Closing the Gap outcomes
  • Support innovation through strategic seed investment in new ambitious works generating jobs growth and career development for leading creatives, new IP and extending creative skills,
  • Position more multi-year funded companies for growth to deliver a stronger and more diverse performing arts sector
  • Increase Australia Council project funding to support individual artist and reduce the level of unfunded excellence
  • Increase investment in regional performing arts engagement and touring.
  • Remove the efficiency dividend on government arts and culture organisations, including the Australia Council, which has had a perverse impact on funds available for investment in arts and culture.

AMPAG also supports an increase in the Australian Cultural Diplomacy grants by $4 million per year to better resource the needs of soft diplomacy

Arts and culture play a critical role in telling our stories and expressing who we are as people, to one another and to the world. They foster insight and understanding, ignite creativity, recognition and ambition as well contribute to a sense of belonging and resilience.

Critically the arts should not be siloed. They bring vibrancy and impact to many broader public policy ambitions, from developing the country’s soft power to student school engagement, night-time economies and better health outcomes. Their trade is creativity and the role of creativity and the creative industries in building prosperity for the future has been missed in this budget.

Australia needs greater investment in creativity, arts and culture to respond to 21st century social and economic challenges and opportunities ahead. This must be driven by an overarching agenda for an ambitious future of our arts and creative industries.


For further enquiries contact:

Bethwyn Serow

Executive Director


Tel 02 92535351

[1]Ausdance, Blak Dance, Live Performance Australia, Music Australia, Symphony Services Australia, Regional Arts Australia, Theatre Network Australia, Performing Arts Connections Australia

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