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Indigenous arts given funding boost

Tara Watson

In a climate of heavy budget cuts, the government has announced plans to boost funding to indigenous arts, language and culture.
Indigenous arts given funding boost

ICS program, Australian Goverment, Ministry for the Arts

Minister for the Arts George Brandis has announced that the Australian Government will commit $45.5 million to initiatives that support indigenous visual arts, language and culture.

‘This funding will support 86 Indigenous visual art organisations, 51 Indigenous languages activities, 83 culture activities and more than 570 jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,’ said Brandis.


The funding extension will ensure continued funding through multi-year agreements which will be filtered through the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support (IVAIS), the Indigenous Languages Support (ILS) and Indigenous Culture Support (ICS) programs and the Indigenous Employment Initiative (IEI).

The majority of the funds, more than $21.4 million, will be contributed to the IEI, to be used to employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the regional arts and cultural sectors in remote organisations.

‘This funding supports visual arts and languages activities by employing Indigenous Australians as arts workers, gallery assistants, cultural administrators, languages assistants and mentors,’ said Brandis.

The government will deliver $10.2 million in operational funding to the IVAIS program, an initiative that supports professional artists to build a stronger Indigenous visual arts sector and sustained economic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. The IVAIS program provides a network of funding to more than 80 Indigenous-owned art centres as well as nurturing employment for indigenous people in remote areas.

‘The funding will support activities that contribute to professional arts practice and strengthen the Indigenous visual arts sector,’ said Brandis.  

The ILS program, a community-based program for the maintenance, revival, transmission and promotion of Australia’s Indigenous languages, will receive $8.8 million. This news comes after it was announced earlier in the year that funding of almost $9.5 million was to be cut from the program in the following four years.

The funds will support the development of community-driven activities for regional language centres, key advocacy and training organisations and community language projects across Australia.

‘This funding continues the Government’s ongoing support for First Languages Australia and the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity,’ said Brandis.

The ICS program will receive $5.1 million to support 83 cultural activities throughout Australia to continue the development of contemporary Indigenous cultural expression and contribute to the cultural wellbeing of Indigenous individuals and communities while supporting new forms of Indigenous cultural expression.

About the author

Tara Watson is a Melbourne journalist & artsHub writer. Follow her on Twitter @TarasWatson