This week the Australia Council held key meetings which will inform the next phase of planning in response to the announcements in the 2015-16 Budget.
The Council’s Chairs of Arts Practice and Strategy Panel Chairs provide strategic advice to the Board and Council on arts sector issues and trends. Their expertise and direct connection with the sector provides valuable insights to inform the Council’s work, and their meeting with the Board’s Strategy Committee this week was particularly important at this time.
The Board of the Australia Council met to discuss the impact of the budget measures and the different approaches to support for the arts which might be delivered by the Council with a significantly reduced budget. The Board confirmed their commitment to the Council supporting individual artists and small to medium arts organisations in ways that promote artistic excellence and sustainability. They also acknowledged the role of the major performing arts companies and the need to maximise the significant level of government investment in these high profile organisations. The importance of support for all areas of the arts ecology was discussed, with particular emphasis on the interdependencies between independent artists, small to medium companies and the major performing arts companies.
The Board wished to acknowledge the breadth and depth of support expressed by the arts sector for the work of the Australia Council, both over its 40+ year history and in particular through the reforms of the past two years which were driven by sustained sector feedback and consultation.
Over the coming weeks and months the Council will continue to review its activities in the new budget context and in relation to the new National Programme for Excellence in the Arts, once details are released.
The Council will be working closely with the Ministry for the Arts during this period and will also continue to work closely with our state and territory colleagues to deliver the best outcomes possible for the sector within the new national arts funding framework.
The Australia Council Board will meet next in August in Canberra. In the lead up to that meeting the Council will be seeking feedback from the sector through a variety of engagement activities.
Further details about Australia Council grants and strategic activities for 2015-16 will be released in September. The Council remains committed to communicating regularly with the sector and providing updates about arts funding as they are available.