Sector in shock as Australia Council 4-year funding announced

Only 95 organisations have received 4-year funding from the Australia Council, down from 128 in 2016, though 49 organisations will receive transitional funding for an additional 12 months.

As predicted, the list of organisations to have lost or been rejected for four-year funding due to the Australia Council’s constrained circumstances (with extant funding never fully restored following the Brandis raid in 2015) is significant.

Among them are companies and organisations such La Mama Theatre, St Martins, Polyglot Theatre, Australian Book Review, Liquid Architecture and the literary journal Overland in Victoria; The Blue Room Theatre and Barking Gecko in Western Australia; Restless Dance Theatre and Vitalstatistix in South Australia; Browns Mart Theatre and Tracks Dance Company in the Northern Territory; Tasdance in Tasmania; Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP), Ensemble Offspring, Sydney Review of Books, Shaun Parker & Company and Urban Theatre Projects in New South Wales; Australasian Dance Collective in Queensland, and peak body NAVA (National Association for the Visual Arts).

Many companies have yet to publicly comment on their lost funding, and the list of organisations that have lost funding is expected to grow significantly in the coming days.

In total, $31.7 million per annum in funding has been distributed through the revised Four Year Funding for Organisations program.

Among the 95 organisations to receive four-year funding are a number of highly deserving companies which receive four-year funding for the first time.

Australia Council CEO Adrian Collette AM said: ‘In the light of COVID-19, it has been essential to revise this round of Four Year Funding to provide support for the greatest possible number of small to medium arts organisations. This has involved increasing the program funding and the number of funded organisations. This is to enable as many as possible small to medium arts organisations to continue to operate, and to strengthen the long term sustainability of the arts sector and the many thousands of Australians it supports.

‘However, achieving this and still supporting more organisations through 2021 requires the first year of FYF funding to be offered at a reduced level. This is not business as usual for anyone, and arts organisations also will need to adapt in order to weather these unprecedented times,’ he said in a statement.


The Australia Council will provide funding for 95 organisations (down from 128 in 2016) that were successful in the application process, including 28 organisations new to Four Year Funding from 2021- 2024.

Successful organisations’ first year of funding from 2021 will be at a reduced level (by approximately 70%) to enable more organisations to receive vital support through 2021.

Contract extensions of 12 months will be provided for 49 organisations that currently receive Four Year Funding 2017-2020 but were not successful for 2021-2024, providing additional time for them to recalibrate their organisations and make plans for the future.

This transition funding for 2021 will be at a reduced level (again, at approximately 70% of existing annual funding).

The Australia Council notes that of the successful applicants, 27% are based in regional or remote Australia and 20% identify First Nations peoples and communities as their primary demographic.

Council said it has supported organisations which are shifting towards self-determined leadership models, particularly in the First Nations, Disability and Cultural Diversity fields, which will enable authentic voices at all levels from grassroots to leadership (for example Warburton Youth Arts, Sharing Stories Foundation).

Council is also supporting writers across all stages of their careers and a broad range of genres, with an emphasis on ensuring that the publishing/writing sector is equipped to represent diverse literary voices both nationally and internationally (e.g. Magabala Books and the Emerging Writers’ Festival).


The list of organisations confirmed to have received four-year funding is as follows:

ActNow Theatre for Social Change
Ananguku Arts & Cultural Aboriginal Corporation
Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists Aboriginal Corporation (ANKA)

Artback NT Inc

Arts Access Society Inc

Arts House (City of Melbourne)

Artspace Visual Arts Centre Ltd

Asian Australian Artists Association Inc.

Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd (APRA)

Australian Art Orchestra Ltd

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

Australian Children’s Performing Arts Company t/a Windmill

Australian Dance Theatre

Australian Music Centre Ltd

Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT)

Australian Publishers Association Ltd

Australian String Quartet Inc

Back to Back Theatre Inc

Barkly Regional Arts Inc

Biennale of Sydney Limited

BlakDance Australia Ltd

Brisbane Community Arts Centre Ltd

Broome Aboriginal Media Association Aboriginal Corporation

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Limited

Canberra International Music Festival Ltd


Chunky Move Ltd

Community Arts Network Western Australia Ltd

Contemporary Art Tasmania

Contemporary Asian Australian Performance Incorporated

Contemporary SA Incorporated trading as ACE Open

Corrugated Iron Youth Arts Inc

Craft ACT:Craft and Design Centre Inc

Crossroad Arts Inc

Curious Works


Dance North (trading under North Queensland Ballet and Dance Company


Dancehouse Incorporated

Darwin Community Arts Incorporated

Desart Inc

Design Tasmania Limited

Diversity Arts Australia (DARTS)

Eleanor Dark Foundation Ltd

Emerging Writers’ Festival Inc

First Nations Australia Writers Network

Firstdraft Incorporated

Footscray Community Arts Centre Ltd

Force Majeure

Gertrude Contemporary

Giramondo Publishing Company Pty Ltd

Griffin Theatre

Griffith Review

Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-op

In The Pipeline (Arts) Ltd t/a New Musicals Australia & Hayes Theatre Co

Insite Arts International Pty Ltd ITF the Trustee for Insite Arts International

Unit Trust

Institute of Modern Art Limited

JamFactory Contemporary Craft & Design Inc

KickArts Contemporary Arts Limited

Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre Aboriginal Corporation –


Koorie Heritage Trust Inc

La Boite Theatre Ltd

Lucy Guerin Association Inc

Magabala Books Aboriginal Corporation

Marrugeku Inc

Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio LTD

Melbourne Jazz Limited

Moogahlin Performing Arts Inc

Multicultural Arts Victoria Inc

MusicNT Inc

Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women s Council

Northern Rivers Performing Arts Inc

NT Writers Centre Inc

Outer Urban Projects Ltd

Patch Theatre Company Inc

Performing Lines Limited

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts Ltd

Powerhouse Youth Theatre Inc (t/a PYT | Fairfield)

PVI Collective Ltd

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation

Queensland Music Network Incorporated

Sharing Stories Foundation

Skinnyfish Music

Speak Percussion

Terrapin Puppet Theatre Ltd

The Performance Space Ltd

The Red Room Company Ltd

The Substation Inc

The Unconformity

Theatre Network Australia

Tura New Music Ltd

University of Queensland Press

Warburton Youth Arts Centre

Watch This Space Inc

Western Edge Youth Arts Inc

Yirra Yaakin Aboriginal Corporation


The full list of organisation that will no longer receive four-year funding after 2017-2020 but will receive transitional funding in 2021 is as follows:

Art Gallery of South Australia

Art Monthly Australia

Artlink Australia

Arts Access Australia Limited

Australian Book Review Inc

Australian Script Centre

Australian Theatre for Young People

Barking Gecko Theatre Company Ltd

Beyond Empathy Ltd

Board of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

Branch Nebula Incorporated

Brisbane Writers Festival Association Inc. t/a UPLIT

Brown’s Mart Arts Limited

Campbelltown Arts Centre (t/u Campbelltown City Council)

Canberra Glassworks Limited

Country Arts SA (South Australian Country Arts Trust)

Crafts Council of Victoria Ltd

Creative Recovery Network Inc

Cultural Development Network Limited

Electronic Music Conference

Ensemble Offspring

Expressions The Queensland Dance Theatre Ltd

Eyeline Publishing Ltd

Feral Arts Corp Ltd

HotHouse Theatre Limited

Information and Cultural Exchange Inc (ICE)

Kickstart Arts Inc

La Mama Inc (VIC)

Liquid Architecture Sound Inc

Museum of Contemporary Art Limited

O L Society Limited (literary journal Overland)

Performing Arts Centre Society Inc (The Blue Room Theatre)

PlayWriting Australia

Polyglot Theatre

Queensland Art Gallery

Restless Dance Theatre Inc

Salamanca Arts Centre Inc

Shaun Parker & Company Ltd

Shopfront Theatre for Young People Co-operative Ltd

Somebody’s Daughter Theatre Company Inc

St Martins Youth Arts Centre

Sydney Writers Festival Ltd

Tasdance Ltd

The Song Company Pty Ltd

Tracks Inc

Umi Arts Ltd

University of Western Sydney (Writing and Society Research Centre)

Urban Theatre Projects Ltd

West Space Incorporated

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts