Federal Budget 2021: Arts receive $223million boost, with more for RISE and screen interruption funds

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg mentioned the arts once in passing during his budget speech

The arts will receive a limited boost in 2021-22 federal budget, unveiled last night, with treasurer Josh Frydenberg announcing $223million in additional support for the sector.

In his budget speech, Frydenberg mentioned the arts once in passing alongside aviation, tourism and international education providers, noting “some sectors and regions continue to do it tough”.

The vast majority of the new funding went to existing initiatives conceived in 2020 to bolster the struggling industry through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund received an additional $125.6million over two years, while music crisis charity Support Act was given another $10million following last year’s disbursement in the wake of the pandemic.

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Local film and TV production banked an additional $50.8million in 2021-22 through the Temporary Interruption Fund, following the initial $50million last year to provide an economic safety net for financiers hesitant to fund productions during the pandemic. Despite a push for the music industry to have a similar scheme from the NSW Labor Party, Live Performance Australia and other peak bodies, none such enterprise was announced in the federal budget.

Funding for the Australia Council for the Arts received an incremental boost of $4.9 million in 2021-22, moving from $214.9 million to $219.8 million due to indexation. Forward estimates are less rosy, with an expected decrease to $218.8million in 2022-2023, and only hitting $223.2million in 2024-2025 without much room for inflation.

Overall, funding for the Australia Council has declined since 2013.

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