Billions in crisis payments made to arts in 2019-20 according to The Big Picture 2 report

As a result, Australia now trailed behind the spending of its peers in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).


Overall, Australia is currently ranked 23rd out of 34 countries for cultural, recreational and religious spending, behind Hungary, Iceland and Estonia, but ahead of Japan, the United States and Britain. .

Raising spending to at least the OECD average over the next decade and ensuring spending keeps pace with Australia’s population growth has required ‘commitment and courage’ from all parties of the arts and culture ecosystem, including philanthropists, creators and governments.

Forty-two percent of current government funding goes to museums, libraries, archives and heritage, and 31 percent to film, radio and television. The smallest slice of the pie – 27% – went to activities like festivals, visual arts, performing arts and literature.

In the last four months of the 2019-20 financial year, which were the first months of the pandemic, Australian arts and culture organizations received over $4 billion in COVID-19 support.


A total of 98.8% of that support came from the federal government, said ANA executive director Kate Fielding.

All of these industries had been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and the effects were continuing and would last for some time.

“From national events to day-to-day activities like going to the movies, taking ballet lessons, visiting the library or taking a painting class, Australians have been missing out.”

James C. Tibbs