Small carrots ~ theatre notes

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Small carrots

Anyone would think there was an election coming up. But hey, if Costello is distributing big carrots in his 2007 Budget, us arts rabbits are grateful for any crumbs that come our way.

Nicholas Pickard has the lowdown on the Arts Budget at his blog. Of immediate interest to us is the increase of $19.5 million over four years ($4.8m per annum) heading to the troubled small-to-medium theatre sector. This adds up to $5.5m more than the $14m Oz Council chair James Strong requested in December last year. It could even represent a small actual increase (as opposed to bringing non-indexed arts funding up to par after its severe inflatory erosion over the past few years - almost 25 per cent in the small-to-medium sector since 2000 - which that $14m was needed to off-set). But I wouldn't get the champagne out yet - if it is an actual increase, it might bring us back to where we were ten years ago.

It would be very surprising if La Mama got the chop after this - especially as distinguished arts figures (most recently Sue Nattrass) have been lining up to publicly express their dudgeon at the thought of its undeserved "on notice" status. And that's unambiguously good news.

PS: A commenter (thanks anon) points out that this funding is going to the entire small-to-medium performing arts sector, not just to theatre, as was incorrectly reported in the Age. So although any increase is good news, it's not as good as it first appeared. Actual Arts Ministry guff here.


Anonymous said...

Note of correction. The Theatre sector will not receive $19.5 million as incorrectly reported in The Age. The $19.5 million is for the entire small to medium performing arts sector. It is still great news for Australian theatre sector but we need to share. For the correct source of information I refer you to the offical release from the Federal Arts Minister$19.5_million_for_australias_small_to_medium_performing_arts_companies/

Alison Croggon said...

Ah ha. Thanks for that, anon - the champagne is definitely back in the cooler, then.

So I wonder how that stacks up against the $14 million James Strong requested for the small-to-medium theatre sector? (My info on that request also from the Age, so it's hopefully accurate, and not referring to the whole of the performing arts - suddenly feeling insecure and I don't have time to check). If so, it could leave the theatre sector still considerably behind on the CPI index.