Albanian government unveils redesign of arts funding

ARIA’s submission on the government’s development of its new culture policy said Australia’s record industry was the ninth-biggest in the world but also the slowest-growing, which the association said may be due to the impact of pandemic lockdowns.


Labour’s policy of pouring $69m into the music industry promises to increase the potential of artists abroad, create community music centers in cities, and cultivate students’ ability to make music.

Music Australia will be one of four under the banner of Creative Australia, a new Australia Council agency set to receive an additional $44 million in grants over the next four years to include an expanded roster of musicians, dancers, writers and performers to support productions.

The additional $44 million is intended to restore the last tranche of money lost by the Australia Council seven years ago under former Arts Secretary George Brandis when he set up the Catalyst programme, which arts activists have dubbed the government slush fund.

The funding is part of $286 million in new money that the government says will commit to supporting new initiatives included in Revive, its new national cultural policy to be unveiled in Melbourne and beyond aims to put indigenous creators at the forefront of its strategy.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the government’s new cultural policy will help local artists thrive.

Anthony Albanese DJing at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne last year.

Anthony Albanese DJing at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne last year.Credit:Fairfax Media

“I am thrilled with the potential it will unleash and to see our extraordinary and diverse Australian stories continue to be told with originality, wit, creativity and flair,” he said.

The draft, the first in a decade, is expected to include a referral to the Productivity Commission and a plan to introduce Australian content quotas for television streaming services by mid-2024.

Labor is expected to announce its intention to impose local content quotas on subscription video-on-demand services, also known as streamers like Netflix.

However, it is understood that little progress has been made towards agreement on the mechanisms or the level of these quotas, which are expected to be tied to a percentage of local revenue.

Labor is expected to announce its intention to impose local content quotas on streaming services.

Labor is expected to announce its intention to impose local content quotas on streaming services.Credit:Paul Rovere

Streamers keep arguing that given the high level of production in the country, quotas are unnecessary without them. In the past fiscal year, a record $2.29 billion was spent on scripted film and television, a figure that doesn’t include reality programs, sports and other genres.

Consistent with the reporting of this legal notice, and contrary to the 20 per cent suggestion reported by News Corp newspapers over the weekend, Labor will not set a figure for the quota in Monday’s announcement. However, it will confirm its intention to establish one and provide a timeline for its introduction.

The government will launch a six-month period of consultation with the streaming sector to try and arrive at a workable model and number. The aim is to introduce legislation by the end of the year and to have the new regulatory system for the streaming services in place by mid-2024.


There is unlikely to be an immediate lifeline for national cultural institutions such as the National Gallery of Australia and the National Library in Monday’s announcement. Both are facing a budget cliff in July, waiting for the May budget.

Alongside Music Australia, Creative Australia will include Writers Australia, which supports authors and illustrators to create new work.

A new organization led by First Nations people will give Indigenous creators more autonomy in their investment decisions. Laws are to be introduced to prevent the exploitation of indigenous artists and grant copyright protections to block the sale of counterfeit art.

Also part of Creative Australia’s remit is a Center for Arts and Entertainment Workplaces, which will address sexual harassment, bullying and abuse in the arts sector.

Greater funding for the Australia Council was high on the wish list of key arts advocates during the first policy consultations. 62 arts organizations were removed from the council’s four-year grant program in 2016 when funds were reallocated from the council to Catalyst. Funding was partially restored a year after Catalyst was canceled in 2017.

Burke said funding decisions are based on artistic merit and are kept at arm’s length by the government.

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Jaclyn Diaz

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