State Budget adds millions in Adelaide Festival and film industry funding as other arts organisations face cuts

The Marshall state government unveiled its 2019/20 State Budget this week, and while  Adelaide Festival and the film industry have received funding boosts, other arts organisations aren’t quite as fortunate.

Adelaide Festival, which this year eclipsed its previous 2018 box office record by over $1 million, will receive a further $1.25 million in annual funding over the next three years to help the Festival “continue to attract major performances and events”.

The state’s film industry will receive a once-off $6 million injection via the South Australian Film Corporation’s Screen Production Investment Fund, with a recently announced, James Wan-produced reboot of video game franchise Mortal Kombat set to be a key recipient as the largest film production in the state’s history. The Budget also outlined a $43 million tourism spend over three years, with a focus on interstate and international markets.

Adelaide Festival 2019 draw The Magic Flute is currently nominated for several Helpmann Awards (Photo: Tony Lewis)

The Budget also allocates $500,000 to the design and establishment of the planned Aboriginal Art and Cultures Gallery for the former Royal Adelaide Hospital Lot Fourteen site. With overall funding for the project now totalling $150 million following the Morrison government’s commitment of $85 million before the May election – by far the single biggest piece of election arts funding announced by the federal Coalition – the Gallery continues to be the Marshall government’s signature arts policy. The findings of a scoping study and stakeholder consultation process for the new institution are due to be announced in July. Meanwhile, a further $2.6 million has been allocated to upgrade the state’s storage facilities for Aboriginal cultural material.

The Gallery is one in a series of projects previously announced as part of a $551 million ‘Adelaide City Deal’ co-funded by the Federal Government. The ‘City Deal’ includes funding for a $9 million Hans and Nora Heysen gallery at The Cedars in Hahndorf, a $3 million Indigenous innovation and incubation hub at Lot Fourteen and a $3 million visitors centre for Carrick Hill House.

Elizabeth Hays and Christine Johnson in Baba Yaga (Photo: Sia Duff)
Celebrated children’s theatre company Windmill Theatre Co. is one of several organisations to face ‘operational efficiencies’ in yesterday’s State Budget (Photo: Sia Duff)

There are, however, instances of belt-tightening across the budget, with many organisations previously under the umbrella of Arts South Australia now facing cuts and efficiency measures in their new departments. Now in the Department of Education, Windmill Theatre, Carclew Youth Arts and the History Trust of South Australia will weather annual cuts, or ‘operational efficiencies’, totalling $472,000 per year – $1.8 million.

As arts critic Jane Howard has pointed out on Twitter, the Innovation and Skills portfolio, which now counts JamFactory, Adelaide Film Festival and the Music Development Office among its ‘Creative Industries cluster’ will also face $31.4 million in ‘departmental efficiency measures’ over four years, with the Department of Premier and Cabinet, which absorbed the remainder of Arts South Australia, will make similar savings of $35.5 million in the same period. How these efficiencies will affect these arts organisations remains to be seen –Budget documents makes no specific reference to either.

The state government  previously withdrew funding for both the Adelaide Fashion Festival and Brand South Australia earlier this year.

Read the full State Budget 2019/20 papers here

Header image:
Shane Reid / Windmill

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