Deborah Stone | Arts Hub |  Tuesday 5th May 2015

The Victorian Government delivered on its election promises to redevelop key cultural properties when it announced the first budget of the Andrews Government today.


The 2015-16 Victorian Budget provides more than $200 million to support Victorian arts and culture, most of it already committed through election promises.

The most exciting news for the sector is $26.5 million in funding for the independent arts sector, which will go towards supporting artists, small to medium arts and cultural organisations, education, youth and multicultural arts programs.

The key capital highlight for the arts sector – the redevelopment of the State Library - was announced in detail last weekk, though foreshadowed during the election.The Government has pledged $55.4 million towards an $83.1 million redevelopment, which will increase the library’s public spaces by 40 per cent and upgrading technology so lessons and workshops can be broadcast.

Another major capital injection, $30 million to redevelop the Geelong Performing Arts Centre, is the fulfillment of an election promise made on both sides to woo the marginal electorates of Geelong​ during the 2014 campaign.

The same is true for the $13.4 million to restore and refurbish the crumbling Palais Theatre.

Beyond capital expenditure, them biggest move is an $80 million allocation to bring more major events to Victoria. But after the Queensland experience cultural organisations will be holding their excitement to see the proportion of those events that turn out to be cultural or whether we are just in for another Grand Prix.

Other winners announced today:

Creative Spaces

  • $20m over four years for the continuation of Creative Victoria’s Arts and Cultural Facilities Maintenance Fund, which provides critical support to maintain Victoria’s state-owned cultural assets;
  • $18m for Museum Victoria to renew its permanent exhibitions – across Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and Immigration Museum; and
  • $150k for Multicultural Arts Victoria to explore the feasibility of developing a new cultural and creative hub, ‘House of World Cultures’ at Port Melbourne’s Station Pier.

Events and Activities

  • $9m over two years for the National Gallery of Victoria to continue its summer series of blockbuster contemporary art and design exhibitions;
  • $1.4m to support key screen industry events and activities, including support for Melbourne International Film Festival’s Premiere Fund, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne and a new Chinese Film Festival; and
  • $1.5 million to support signature events and activities in the design sector; Melbourne International Design Week, the Premier’s Design Awards and MPavilion.

Support for Creative Professionals and Organisations

  • $3.5m to Film Victoria to support its investment, development and skills programs which support Victorian screen practitioners and businesses across film, television and digital games;
  • $12.2m over four years for Music Works, a multifaceted new package of initiatives for Victoria’s live music industry, including support for local artists, live music venues, skills development and export opportunities;
  • $20 million over four years for the arts in regional Victoria. The regional package includes a new Regional Centre of Culture initiative, which will put the spotlight on the creative and cultural strengths of Victoria’s regions, the extension of the successful Small Town Transformation program, and increased support for regional touring, programming and community engagement across regional Victoria;
  • $26.5m to strengthen Victoria’s renowned and diverse independent arts sector. This package secures Creative Victoria funding for artists, small to medium arts and cultural organisations, education, youth and multicultural arts programs.
  • Funding for Arts Centre Melbourne ($2m), Melbourne Recital Centre ($500k) and the State Library of Victoria ($1.5m) to ensure they can reach and deliver programs for all Victorians.

IMAGE CREDIT: State Library of Victoria, White Night 2015, Image: Deborah Stone