Continued support for Tasmania’s arts sector

A reelected Gutwein Liberal Government will provide a 50% increase in operational funding for Tasmania’s cultural and creative organisations, says Tasmania's Minister for the Arts, the Hon Elise Archer MP.

Creative endeavour and artistic expression are fundamental reflections of who we are and how we live our lives. As individuals and as a community, we recognise the importance of the arts in shaping our overall health and wellbeing, our educational outcomes and our economic prosperity.

Tasmania’s creative and cultural identity is one of our State’s most valuable assets. It allows us to see ourselves through different lenses and to celebrate our unique place in the world, and also encourages us to evolve, explore and express ourselves. 

From our individual creative practices, grassroots community and cultural development programs, professional arts and cultural practices, world class symphony orchestras, arts organisations and institutions, and touring performance companies – there is a place for each and every Tasmanian to explore and express themselves creatively.

As an avid personal supporter of our cultural and creative sector, I feel privileged to have been Tasmania’s Minister for the Arts since 2017. I am extremely proud of our Government’s achievements and strong track record of working with the sector.

We have delivered new legislation to reduce red tape and provide a best practice framework for independent expert peer assessed funding, supporting and nurturing Tasmania’s cultural and creative industries.

Our Government has implemented Tasmania’s first Youth Arts Strategy and established a number of exciting new initiatives, including the Tasmanian Theatre Fund, the Northern Tasmania Arts Organisations Initiative and our ground-breaking Screen Innovation Fund.

We have also provided dedicated funding for the establishment of a permanent children’s exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and delivered ongoing support for Tasmania’s artistic and cultural icons including the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Ten Days on the Island.

I’ve been proud of our substantial contribution to cementing Tasmania as a premium destination for creative screen and film projects through our support for acclaimed productions, including the ABC’s Rosehaven and the second series of The Gloaming. Our Screen Innovation Fund has provided never seen before investment in our screen industry. 

Read: What should Tasmania’s arts priorities be post-election?

In contrast to what had been an undeniably strong uplift and trajectory prior to March 2020, the last 12 months have been extremely challenging for Tasmania’s artistic and creative community due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the sector has been among the hardest hit within the community, both here and abroad.

As a government, we responded swiftly in the early stages of the pandemic to provide the nation’s first stimulus package for our cultural and creative industries here in Tasmania. We have continued to deliver real and substantial support to our artists and arts organisations throughout the past year, including $12 million towards stimulus and recovery measures for the sector.

Our initial stimulus funding was disbursed over a period of months from March 2020 and we followed up with further new funding and recovery programs in the 2020-21 State Budget. These included our Arts Recovery Support Initiative, giving grants of up to $10 000 to artists, arts organisations and arts businesses to cover earnings lost due to COVID-19, along with a new Community Arts and Cultural Development program to establish social health and wellbeing partnerships between the arts and community sectors.

In addition to our budget measures, in late 2020 we committed another $2 million to establish our Live Performance Support Program, providing event organisers and arts organisations some additional financial security when staging performances in a COVID-19 environment.


Our funding efforts are still going strong in 2021. In his State of the State Address in March, the Premier announced an additional $3 million in Screen Production Investment funding to attract and support film and TV productions that showcase the State and build on our successful marketing of the Tasmanian brand.

Our new $1 million Live Performance Reactivation Program will help performing arts production companies and venues to stage large scale live performances by providing significant grants of up to $200,000 towards the cost of things like professional fees, set design and construction, equipment and costume hire, and licensing costs.

Continued momentum and confidence are both vitally important to the ongoing growth and development of Tasmania’s arts sector, and at no time is this more important than the present. Substantial injections of funding, targeted towards areas where they can do the most good, are ensuring that high levels of creative activity can be sustained going forward.

In addition to the substantial funding already provided, if re-elected a majority Gutwein Liberal Government will be providing a 50% increase in operational funding for Tasmania’s cultural and creative organisations. This commitment will see an additional $1.2 million allocated each year over the next four years to our existing $2.3 million funding pool.

If re-elected a majority Gutwein Liberal Government will be providing a 50% increase in operational funding for Tasmania’s cultural and creative organisations.

This significant further investment will support our vibrant artists and arts organisations to deliver a range of high-quality programs that will inspire Tasmanian audiences, and build further confidence and stability within the industry as it regroups and rebuilds from the impacts of COVID-19.

If re-elected, we will also be investing an additional $200,000 to support Tasmanian artists returning to the ‘gig economy.’ This program will provide individual grants of up to $2,000 and is designed to assist local artists across the State, including sole traders, freelancers and self-employed artists get back to work, doing what they love. Grants will be available to help with the purchase of equipment hire or upgrades, lessons, workshops and studio hire.

Helping our creative and cultural heart to rebuild and flourish once again is one of the most important things we can do to ensure that Tasmania get its ‘groove’ back and overcomes the adverse impacts of COVID-19.

The Tasmanian Liberals have been a strong and stable supporter of the State’s arts sector through the good times and the bad. We have a clear plan to secure Tasmania’s future, and that plan includes ensuring that our cultural and creative industries continue to receive the recognition and support required to facilitate recovery and sustained growth and development going forward. 

The Tasmanian state election takes place this Saturday 1 May. The Labor Party and the Greens were also approached for opinion pieces. Their short statements can be read here.

Elise Archer
About the Author
The Hon Elise Archer MP is Tasmania's Minister for the Arts and the Member for Clark in the Tasmanian House of Assembly. She was first elected to Parliament in 2010 and also serves as Attorney-General, Minister for Justice, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Building and Construction and Minister for Heritage.