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News August 4, 2022

Budget Funding Boost For ACT Arts Organisations and Venues

Senior Journalist, B2B
Budget Funding Boost For ACT Arts Organisations and Venues

The ACT Government is investing in arts venues as part of the 2022-23 ACT Budget.

A total of $28.44 million was committed to revitalise Civic Square and the expanded Canberra Theatre Centre.

The Canberra Theatre Centre will include a new 2,000-seat theatre with a bigger stage to attract more tours and productions.

Andrew Barr, the territory’s chief minister, said the construction of a major new theatre for Canberra would be an important next step in the evolution of arts and culture in the capital city.

“It will enable Canberrans’ creative engagement to thrive for generations to come and make an important contribution to the live performance culture of the nation.”

In addition, the existing theatre will be repurposed with a flexible flat floor suitable for live music, and a possible 300-seat studio to replace the small Courtyard Theatre.

In another boost for live music fans, the Gorman House Arts Centre gets $8 million for heritage restorations and accessibility, safety and energy efficiency upgrades in time for its centenary in 2024.

Funding for Canberra’s major arts and music organisations will increase by around 10%, providing a total of over $7.9 million per year as part of the new ACT Arts, Culture and Creative Policy and Arts Organisation Investment Program.

Tara Cheyne, minister for the arts, said these provide the roadmap for Canberra to be recognised as Australia’s arts capital.

“Canberra’s arts, culture and creative sector is strong,” she said.

“We are a national leader in creative employment, we have the highest arts and creative participation rate across Australia, and we are renowned for our cultural tourism offerings.

“While we have always celebrated our city’s hidden gems, this is our opportunity to show the world exactly what we have here and what makes Canberra so special – and that what we have is unmissable.”

There are three funding streams.

Organisations that manage the ACT Government arts centre/s get five-year funding of between $100,000 and $1 million per year.

Arts Organisation Investment provides four-year funding of between $100,000 and $600,000 per year for leading ACT arts organisations.

Emerging Arts Organisation Investment provides two-plus-two years funding of up to $100,000 per year for organisations that have not received Arts ACT multi- year funding previously.

Figures from the Government say Canberrans have the highest (92.5%) rate of attendance at cultural events and venues, with a 45% rate in selected cultural activities.

They’re early adopters of arts practises, and are among the most likely to participate in online arts and culture activities.

Canberrans spend approximately $71 per week on arts and culture, the highest per capita of capital cities.

In 2021 there were 1,500 active creative businesses in the ACT, an 8.5% increase since 2016.

The ACT has one of the largest proportions of creative knowledge workers in Australia— 5.6% compared to a national average of 4.1%.

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