Australia/ 6. Financing of culture  

6.1 Short overview

There have been no significant changes in the public financing of culture in Australia, but rather a steady flattening of the budgetary allocations for operating funding from both Commonwealth and state/territory authorities, occurring over a period of years.  These have not been as a direct result of the global financial crisis, as has occurred in other countries but, rather as a result of governments trying to address the problem of growing government deficits, with resulting appropriations to arts agencies more often than not failing to keep pace with inflation.  This has occurred increasingly as a result of governments imposing what they describe as an ‘efficiency dividend’ upon the public sector, including those public sector agencies that provide community funding such as arts and cultural funding.  Put simply, an efficiency dividend is a budget cut, being a ‘dividend’ to consolidated revenue arising from budget cuts within all public sector agencies.

The impact of the relatively small or non-existent rate of increase in funding for major arts companies and cultural institutions in particular has seen a concerted attempt to engage corporate Australia in sponsorship.  Figures from the Australia Business Arts Foundation, now Creative Partnerships Australia, from 2011%found that private sector support for the arts was around $221m, an increase of 4.25% from 2008-09.  Private giving increased to $123 million from 2008-09, up 10.6% from 2008-9.  However, corporate sponsorship declined by 2.7%, sitting at $98 million, the first negative growth since 2004-05.


Historical figures dating back to 2001-02 show that overall private sector support for the arts has increased by 98% from $111.6 million to $221 million.  By art form, the performing arts continue to attract the largest amount ($79 million) followed by art galleries ($51 million) and arts festivals ($31 million).  The full report may be seen at

Chapter published: 27-12-2013