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$24M injected into WA regional arts & culture

$24M injected into WA regional arts & culture

Gemma Robins

In May 2012, Country Arts WA delivered the 2020nine Manifesto and Foundation for the Future Regional Arts Policy Paper on the steps of the State Parliament.

In the lead up to the last state election, Country Arts WA created the Foundations for the Future Regional Arts Policy paper and drove the Vote Arts campaign, which advocated for the four major political parties to make a public and tangible commitment to regional arts in WA.

On Wednesday 10 June, the State Government announced the Royalties for Regions – Creative Regions Program. This program will invest $24 million in arts and culture in regional Western Australia over the four years between 2015 and 2018. Country Arts WA will manage Scheme Four, one of the five schemes delivered through this program.

Country Arts WA Chair Ross Beckett, Country Arts WA CEO Jessica Machin, The Minister for Culture & the Arts The Hon. John Day and The Hon. Colin Holt MLC, outside the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre after the Creative Regions Program announcement. Photo by Paul Webster.

Country Arts WA Chair Ross Beckett, Country Arts WA CEO Jessica Machin, The Minister for Culture & the Arts The Hon. John Day and The Hon. Colin Holt MLC, outside the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre after the Creative Regions Program announcement. Photo by Paul Webster.

Country Arts WA had the pleasure of informing 17 regional arts and culture organisations who applied for the Core Arts Fund in 2013 that they received the Scheme Four funding as a priority. Regional arts organisations were identified as a priority for this funding, due to the overwhelmingly competitive round in 2013, which recognised the unmet need, the high regional service delivery costs and lack of opportunities for operational funding support for grassroots regional arts organisations.

The following organisations received funding through Scheme Four:

What exactly is this funding?

The Creative Regions Program is a priority State Government commitment that seeks to:
• Enhance the viability of the arts and entertainment venues in regional centres;
• Build the capacity of the State’s Aboriginal art centres;
• Strengthen regionally based arts and cultural organisations;
• Increase support for regionally based artists and arts workers; and
• Increase the number and variety of touring performances to regional areas and expand the current scope of the Performing Arts Regional Touring Boost Grants Program.

How did this come about?

In the lead up to the last state election, Country Arts WA ran a campaign called Vote Arts which lobbied all political parties to make a tangible and public commitment to regional arts. The Vote Arts campaign was informed by the Foundations for the Future Regional Arts Policy Paper. The WA National Party made a pre-election commitment of $16 million and when they formed a coalition government with the WA Liberal Party, this pre-election promise became a reality and a total of $24 million was committed. This funding has come from Royalties for Regions and is called Creative Regions.

How much funding is allocated to Scheme 4 – Regional Arts and Cultural Activity?

A total of $6 million has been allocated over a period of four financial years. This represents 24% of the total allocation of Creative Regions funding.

Where is Country Arts WA allocating this funding?

Country Arts WA advocated strongly that there was limited support in the regions for the not-for-profit arts organisations who are on the ground delivering the programs to their regional communities. Hence the largest portion of Scheme Four is being directly given to regional arts organisations. Country Arts WA will also have a new fund opening later in the year, as well as support for young people, the State Regional Arts Conference in 2017, the Focus Region Initiative and a new regional partnership program.

Over 50% of the total pool of money is being allocated to regional arts organisations and projects, another 30% is directed towards regional partnership programs and the remaining 20% spent on professional development and capacity building projects for regional communities.

Where are the opportunities for me to apply for this funding for my project or program?

Country Arts WA will open a new fund later in the year to allow regional organisations, artists, individuals and Local Governments to apply for funding. It is envisaged that this will close in early 2016 and reopen annually for four years. The details are still being worked out, but we are endeavoring to keep the new fund as open as possible and address the areas of greatest need in the regions which aren’t currently met through existing funding opportunities.

Will there be other funding opportunities under the Creative Regions program?

Country Arts WA is managing one of the five Creative Regions schemes, so it is worth exploring opportunities through the other schemes which will be managed by the Department of Culture and the Arts and CircuitWest.

Read the official media release announcement here.

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