Four-year funding goes to 39 organisations for the first time, with increased investment by the Queensland Government.

There was some welcome news for small to medium arts organisations in Queensland, with the announcement of increased organisational funding to the sector for 2017–2020 totalling $30.5 million. Queensland Premier and Minister for the Arts, Annastacia Palaszczuk, made the announcement over the weekend at the Brisbane Festival opening of Ballet Preljocaj’s Snow White. However, the good news was somewhat marred by an embarrassing faux pas when the Premier welcomed the French company to the Festival, saying, “of course, we don’t have a contemporary dance company here in Brisbane.”

Queensland Premier and Minister for the Arts Annastacia Palaszczuk

In fact, Brisbane is home to Expressions Dance Company, which, under the artistic directorship of Natalie Weir, has been nominated for a number of Helpmann Awards and Australian Dance Awards. Queensland is also home to DanceNorth. Both companies are among the 39 organisations to have received four-year funding through the Organisations Fund 2017–2020 (compared to 35 in 2014–2016).

In January this year, the Premier announced that Queensland-based small to medium arts organisations would be to apply for four-year funding for the first time under the revamped Organisations Fund. Previously, organisational grants had been triennial. “The total funding of $30.55 million represents annual funding of $7.63 million as compared to annual funding of $7.06 million for the $21.18 million Organisations Fund 2014 –2016,” said the Premier. She added that the investment – which represents an annual increase of $572,000 per year over four years to the small to medium arts sector – “demonstrates my government’s firm commitment to fund more organisations over a longer period of time, providing greater certainty and a secure base for these organisations to realise strategic plans, grow and attract other income.”

The increased funding will help bridge the gap caused by recent Federal Government cuts to the Australia Council. The funding crisis came to a head in May when over 60 small to medium arts organisations lost out on organisational funding from the Australia Council. In May, the Victorian Government also bolstered funding to the small to medium sector with an investment of $113 million to 90 arts organisations in four-year organisational grants.

The Queensland Government grants include eight new recipients: Topology, Bleach, Backbone, BlakDance Australia, Playlab, Blue Roo Theatre Company, Queensland Youth Orchestras and Queensland Poetry Festival. Major performing arts companies like Queensland Ballet, Queensland Theatre Company, Opera Queensland and Queensland Symphony Orchestra remain on triennial funding.

A list of Organisations Fund 2017–2020 recipients can be found at www.arts.qld.gov.au

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