Last night’s budget release saw the Gillard Government focus on jobs, and getting back to a surplus in 2012-2013. While the mentions of contemporary music were few, they’ll deliver good artist-focused outcomes and were well received by the sector.
Fulfilling an election promise the Government will provide $10 million over five years in additional support to the Australia Council to fund new projects for young and emerging artists. More specific to the music sector, the Contemporary Music Touring Project received $1.6 million over four years to continue supporting tours to regional and remote areas across the country. While there was a lack of any strong support for the sector, what was the most interesting part of last night’s announcement was Arts Minister Crean’s reiteration of a commitment to developing a National Cultural Policy – the first since Keating’s Creative Nation almost 20 years ago.
While the budgetcan best be described as hit and miss, we’re hopeful that the National Cultural Policy will develop an overarching strategy that rids budget spends of legacy funding and invests real resources in developing Australia’s contemporary arts sector – with contemporary music as a prominent part of both the sector and the policy. Through the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN), MusicNSW will be lobbying government for a long term strategic approach to supporting contemporary music in Australia. Stay tuned.