October 4, 2018
South Burnett Regional Council has received just $8000 in regional arts funding from the State Government for 2018-19, the lowest amount for any council in Queensland.
The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is administered by Arts Queensland “to support quality arts and cultural experiences across Queensland”.
In the 2018-19 funding round, a total of $2.08 million was distributed to Queensland councils.
Councils then provide financial and in-kind support to RADF projects in their area.
The South Burnett was the only council to receive a four-figure sum in the latest funding round.
In comparison, neighbouring councils North Burnett received $45,000; Gympie $40,000; Toowoomba $30,000; Western Downs $25,000 and Somerset $20,000.
The highest payouts went to the Cairns, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast councils which received $100,000 each.
An Arts Queensland spokesperson said it was up to councils to apply for funding.
Their applications are then independently assessed by the RADF Peer Assessment Panel, with input from an intra-governmental advisory group.
It is unclear whether the $8000 payment to the South Burnett Regional Council (SBRC) is simply because the council requested less, or whether it was an Arts Queensland funding decision.
But this year’s payment is far less than the $68,888 RADF funding the Council received in 2013-14.
southburnett.com.au has approached the SBRC for comment but has not yet received a reply.
The $8000 received by the SBRC will be topped up by Council’s own funds to make $13,333 available to local arts projects in 2018-19.
However, its total 2018-19 RADF Budget is actually $17,942 because of “carryover” funds from previous rounds.
These funds were left over because of a lack of suitable applications by local artists in the previous round.
A lack of suitable applications has plagued the program in recent rounds.
The latest South Burnett RADF round (Round 1 of 2018-19) opened on August 1 and closed on August 31.
It is believed to have received only two applications, and only one of these met the guidelines.
The previous round also attracted little support.
Cr Danita Potter reported to Council in April this year that Round 2 of 2017-18 received only two eligible applications, totalling $4929.
The lack of applications follows changes in recent years over the way the fund is administered locally.
In January 2017, South Burnett councillors voted to adopt a new set of guidelines for how RADF would operate in future.
Instead of three funding rounds per financial year, the program was scaled back to two.
The types of activities that could be supported were also restricted to:
Previously, RADF funding could be used for activities including:
In July 2017, the RADF program was brought under the umbrella of Council’s new Community Grants Program Policy.
This meant it was advertised alongside other community grant programs instead of having its own focus.
In September 2017, two of the five members of Council’s independent RADF Advisory Committee – a group of local arts professionals appointed by Council which assessed applications and then referred them to Council for ratification – quit, claiming the changes to the RADF program had made the advisory committee “pointless”.
In May this year, the independent RADF Advisory Committee was axed by Council.
Recommendations are now made by a grants committee made up of four councillors with responsibility for RADF funds transferred to Council’s Economic Development Unit.
southburnett.com.au asked Arts Queensland if RADF funding was meant to be administered locally by people without arts experience.
We received the following response:
“RADF works on the principle that local community funding decisions are best made by local representatives who understand the needs of their local communities, and how to support local arts practice.
“Local RADF funding is administered directly by each council, with a council RADF liaison officer supporting the delivery of local RADF projects and programs.
“RADF liaison officers and assessment panels are appointed directly by each council.”
|Balonne Shire||Lockyer Valley Regional|
|Banana Shire||Logan City|
|Barcaldine Regional||Longreach Regional|
|Barcoo Shire||Mackay Regional|
|Blackall-Tambo Regional||Maranoa Regional|
|Boulia Shire||Mareeba Shire|
|Bulloo Shire||McKinlay Shire|
|Bundaberg Regional||Moreton Bay Regional|
|Burdekin Shire||Mount Isa City|
|Cairns Regional||Murweh Shire|
|Carpentaria Shire||Noosa Shire|
|Cassowary Coast Regional||North Burnett Regional|
|Central Highlands Regional||Paroo Shire|
|Charters Towers Regional||Quilpie Shire|
|City of Gold Coast||Redland City|
|Cloncurry Shire||Richmond Shire|
|Cook Shire||Rockhampton Regional|
|Croydon Shire||Scenic Rim Regional|
|Diamantina Shire||Somerset Regional|
|Douglas Shire||South Burnett Regional|
|Etheridge Shire||Southern Downs Regional|
|Flinders Shire||Sunshine Coast|
|Fraser Coast Regional||Tablelands Regional|
|Gladstone Regional||Toowoomba Regional|
|Goondiwindi Regional||Townsville City|
|Gympie Regional||Western Downs|
|Hinchinbrook Shire||Whitsunday Regional|
|Ipswich City||Winton Shire|