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Annual Report 2015/16

02 Annual Performance Statement

Outcome 2:Program 2.1: Arts and Cultural Development

This program contributes to Outcome 2 by administering a range of activities that support excellence in the arts and culture, develop and promote access to cultural activities including in regional and remote Australia, support and develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture, support Australian screen production, and protect Australia’s movable cultural heritage.

Activity: Support participation in, and access to the arts and encourage greater private sector support for the arts

Our community impact

  • Access to quality artistic and cultural experiences and skills development opportunities.

Targets, measurement, results

Our target is to maintain access to high-quality cultural experiences in regional and remote Australia and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We achieve this by administering a number of funding programs.

In 2015–16 we administered funding of $1.2 million for 32 projects through Festivals Australia which supports arts activities at regional festivals. Funding of $2.53 million supported the development and touring of eight exhibitions to regional Australia through Visions of Australia. Of all the arts and culture activities funded by Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund, 29 per cent were in regional locations and nine per cent were in remote or very remote locations.

In 2015–16, we administered $3.3 million through the Regional Arts Fund to 345 recipients in regional and remote locations to support sustainable cultural development. All activities supported by the Regional Arts Fund were based in regional and remote areas (including the ACT). All funded organisations met relevant program objectives to a high degree. Ninety-five per cent of applications were processed within the timeframes, with funding agreements acquitted in line with project timelines. We also revised the funding guidelines for the Regional Arts Fund, in consultation with key stakeholders, to streamline the delivery of the funding and reduce the level of reporting requirements on funded organisations.

Indigenous languages and art contribute to a strong sense of cultural identity and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The Department managed the Indigenous Languages and Arts Program to invest more than $22 million in more than 60 language activities, including a network of 50 language organisations to support the revival and maintenance of Indigenous languages. The program also funded the development of 54 Indigenous arts projects.

The Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support Program provided $22.2 million in operational and Indigenous arts worker funding to 97 organisations, most of which are in remote communities. The funding supported 80 Indigenous-owned art centres, as well as art fairs, regional hubs and industry service organisations that support artists to produce and promote their work. More than 8,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual artists and around 300 arts workers were able to generate income and engage in the nation’s economy as a result of the program.

Our target is also to provide emerging Australian artists with access to high-quality, elite-level training in the performing arts. The Department administered funding to seven national elite performing arts organisations. Entry into the arts training organisations is highly competitive and in 2015–16, all seven institutions were fully enrolled after national, merit-based audition processes.

Our effectiveness in achieving objectives and our efficiency in meeting goals

  • Stakeholder satisfaction with the Department’s effectiveness in supporting participation in, and access to, the arts.
  • Total instances of policy advice, program work and legislative change that are on time, within budget and meet requirements.

Targets, measurement, results

Our target is to achieve effective and efficient administration of cultural and arts programs and legislation that support access to, and participation in, the arts, protect our cultural heritage and encourage private sector support of the arts. We provide timely policy and program advice to the Minister for the Arts on the programs we administer, board appointments, the portfolio and issues facing the sector.

The performance targets identified in the Attorney-General’s Department Corporate Plan 2015–16 for arts-related activities depended on a survey of stakeholder satisfaction. This survey was not undertaken when Arts was moved into the Department of Communications and the Arts—stakeholders needed to be given time to grow familiar with the updated administrative arrangements. Instead, the Arts areas delivering policy advice and administering projects have measured this aspect of performance through direct feedback and the level of stakeholder engagement in working towards the Government’s goals.

We have worked closely with stakeholders on a range of projects including regional arts organisations on the revised funding guidelines for the Regional Arts Fund; the performing arts sector and state/territory governments during the National Opera Review; with auction houses, collectors, museums and peak bodies during the review of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986; and with Indigenous communities and overseas governments for the Indigenous Repatriation Program.   

We managed a range of grant programs, bringing extensive experience in grants management to ensure compliance with funding guidelines and the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines.

In 2015–16 the lending rights programs made payments to 17,148 claimants which accounted for a 98.3 per cent successful payment rate by 30 June 2016 (exceeding the PBSDefinition:Portfolio Budget Statements target of 95 per cent). Authors and publishers were paid a combined total of $9.8 million under the Public Lending Right program (7,492 claims) and $12 million under the Educational Lending Right program (9,656 claims).

Under the Australian Screen Production Incentive, the Minister for the Arts issued final certificates for the Location Offset and Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Offset to 55 productions, which represented qualifying Australian production expenditure of $241,524, 205. The Film Certification Advisory Board issued 16 provisional certificates for the Location Offset and PDV Offset. The target of 80 per cent of applications (with all supporting documentation provided by applicants) being assessed within 15 weeks was not met in 2016–17 due to a doubling in the number of applications.

We administered the Foreign Actor Certification Scheme for screen performers entering Australia to work on film and television productions. In 2015–16, 115 foreign actors were certified. One hundred per cent of valid applications (those with all supporting documentation provided) to the Foreign Actor Certification Scheme were assessed within five working days.

As part of administering the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986, we received 102 applications for export permits and finalised 93 applications (including applications received in the 2014–15 financial year). We also handled 17 cases regarding the importation of cultural heritage objects that were allegedly illegally exported from another country. Three of these cases extend from previous years and six are ongoing. One hundred per cent of applications or referrals considered under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 were processed and considered in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

We provided secretariat support to the independent review of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986, which provides the basis for a comprehensive modernisation of the legislation.

The National Opera Review has continued throughout the year, releasing a Discussion Paper in September 2015 and conducting extensive consultation into 2016. The Review Panel, led by Dr Helen Nugent AO, is expected to provide its report to the Government by the end of 2016. The review is examining the financial viability, artistic vitality and accessibility to audiences of Opera Australia, Opera Queensland, State Opera of South Australia and West Australian Opera.

The Indigenous Repatriation Program provided funding to eight major Australian museums for the repatriation of ancestral remains and secret sacred objects to Indigenous communities. We worked in partnership with Indigenous communities in New South Wales and facilitated international returns of Indigenous ancestral remains from the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

We are supporting the Government to create an environment in which arts organisations attract funding from a diverse range of sources. The Cultural Gifts Program, administered by the Department, endorsed 573 donations, valued at more than $50 million, to more than 100 different collecting institutions across Australia. The number of cultural organisations eligible to receive tax-deductible donations also continued to grow: we added 75 cultural organisations to the Register of Cultural Organisations. There were 1,616 organisations listed on the register as at 30 June 2016. We administered funding of  $4.4 million to Creative Partnerships Australia, a Commonwealth company, to deliver a range of mentoring and training programs to develop the capacity of artists and organisations to attract private-sector support. This included $1.75 million for the continuation of matched funding initiatives that helped more than 72 projects attract new donors and leverage greater private giving.