2021-2022 South Australian State Budget: AICSA’s response

Building on the one-off grants-based initiatives delivered in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as two new State Funds announced in the 2021-22 State Budget, the Arts Industry Council of South Australia calls on the South Australian Government to commit to new and visionary initiatives that support artistic and cultural practice, employment, training and keeping artists living well in South Australia.

The South Australia Government handed down the 2021-22 State Budget on Tuesday 22 June.

Arts and culture initiatives include:

  • $300,000 for the development of a business case to consider a new acoustic hall in Adelaide;
  • $800,000 over four years for the appointment of an Assistant Director to lead the content development, creative planning and curatorial strategy for the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre;
  • $3.1 million for internal refurbishment works at the Adelaide Festival Centre;
  • $6.6m over four years towards increasing funding available through the South Australian Film Corporation’s Screen Production Fund;
  • $22.8m over five years to meet an increase in demand for the Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects Rebate Scheme and continuation of the scheme from 2022-23;
  • The ongoing $86.5 million ($9.4 million in 2021-22) investment into Cultural Institutions Collection Storage;
  • The ongoing $200 million ($57 million in 2021-22) Major Projects investment into the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre.

Other initiatives include: $500,000 towards new City of Adelaide Activation grants, for a coordinated program of events and activities to encourage people to return, visit and spend time in the city; and a further $4 million towards the Great State tourism voucher scheme.

AICSA welcomes all these new initiatives and important investment projects. However, there is no new or increased funding within the main arts and culture budget, from where grant making programs and other initiatives for artists are supported.

While there was a very positive impact from last year’s COVID-19 response, including the $10.2 million Arts Recovery Fund and other one-off initiatives, the arts have this coming financial year reverted back to arguably a smaller budget than in 2019-20.

Responsive COVID-19 support for our sector, that continues to be dramatically impacted by the pandemic, is important. However AICSA’s members also want to see progressive and visionary policies that support long-term artistic practice and that improve the training, working and living conditions of artists in South Australia.

Over the next eight months, we hope to see new announcements and commitments from the Government towards these longer-term goals of sustainability and prosperity for arts and culture in South Australia.

Funding the sector to thrive, through a new commitment to grants and operational programs including the critically important Arts Organisations Program, fellowships, and public employment initiatives for artists and small-to-medium organisations, are a key priority for the South Australian arts sector, alongside four other Key Priorities.

The South Australian Government has announced substantial investment into two funds that have been promoted as highlights of this year’s State Budget. AICSA believes these two funds could be leveraged further by the Government to support arts and culture.

The Leisure Events Bid Fund of a remaining $90 million over the next four years, is tasked with attracting and supporting events of community significance for the State’s cultural, leisure and sports calendar. AICSA believes this Fund could be more transparent and could widen its mandate to supporting sustainability, liveability and to restoring confidence to run existing and new festivals and events (especially when arts festivals, events and venues, and the people they employ, remain particularly vulnerable to the impact of restrictions and lockdowns).

The Jobs and Economic Growth Fund of a further $200 million over four years, is tasked with new initiatives towards jobs creation and industry development. This Fund is the perfect vehicle through which the Government could support a ground-breaking, Australian-first program of employment and fellowships for artists.

The 2021-22 State Budget has maintained what has commonly been seen as business as usual in the past for arts commitments at Budget time, with some new investment into arts infrastructure and assets, and creative industries schemes.

AICSA calls on the South Australian Government to go beyond business as usual in these extraordinary times.

Now is the moment to forge ambitious and forward-thinking initiatives that secure a strong future for South Australian arts and culture – by supporting the sustainability and confidence of arts and cultural organisations and events, and by keeping artists working and making in our state.

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