20th June 2019

The Arts Industry Council of SA (AICSA) welcomed new investment for major arts activities across screen, festivals and Aboriginal arts and culture. Despite these new investments, AICSA is concerned that the 2019-20 budget did not take any steps to ameliorate the significant cuts announced in the previous 2018-19 budget.

Increased funding announced in the 2019-20 SA Budget comprised

  • $1.25 million for the next three years of the Adelaide Festival to attract major performances and events
  • $6 million to the SAFC’s Screen Production Investment Fund to finance local and international productions
  • $500K 2019-20 to finalise the design and ongoing operational model for the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Gallery (this is in addition to previously announced Commonwealth and State commitment of $150million)
  • $2.6M over 2019-21 to upgrade Aboriginal Cultural Collections Storage which holds items of immeasurable cultural significance

Gail Kovatseff, Chair of AICSA said today,

“While the announcements in this year’s budget are both positive and exciting, it must not be overlooked that this week SA major arts organisations received letters outlining what exact cuts from the last budget they are required to absorb during this financial year. Major arts organisations are meeting total cuts of $18.5million over the four years 2018/19-21/22. This considerably impacts on the health of our arts sector and their capacity to deliver programs.”

In addition to these ongoing cuts, new cuts totalling $472,000 were announced for the History Trust of SA, Carclew and Windmill. These three organisations went to the Education Department as part of the major administrative changes made to Arts South Australia in the 2018-19 budget.

Ms Kovatseff commented,

“We are quite surprised to note these new arts cuts as these organisations fall under the care of Education Minister John Gardner, who was a strong and admired advocate for the sector while the Shadow Minister for the Arts. We hope he is in the position to lessen the impacts of these cuts on these important organisations servicing both young people and the community.”

AICSA also acknowledges concerns from the music sector in regard to the introduction of a User Pay system for police attendance at festivals. These are the very festivals which young people in South Australia are most engaged with, and in NSW the high costs of User Pay has contributed to the closure of almost a dozen festivals. South Australia prides itself as a festival state and this is a major set-back.

With the completion of the Government’s Arts Plan expected in the coming days, the Arts sector remains hopeful that positive developments are on the horizon.

“While no increased funds have been set aside in the 2019-20 budget for new initiatives and strategies, we believe the extensive consultation undertaken to develop the Arts Plan will have found that, while the arts is doing it hard, it remains primed for growth and economic impact. Inevitably the consultation will have discovered that even modest investments such as last budget’s extra $1m invested into artists and their practice plays a significant role in creating the conditions to stop the SA brain drain by keeping artists and young people in South Australia.” Ms Kovatseff said.

Arts Industry Council of South Australia played an instrumental role in advocating for an Arts Plan and for extra funding for artists and their arts practice.