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Arts Funding Lowest In Queensland

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FLASHBACK: Tractor Tattoo in 2012 … one of the hundreds of successful events, workshops and skills development programs for musicians, painters, dancers and sculptors in the South Burnett organised with the help of RADF funding

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. 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:

  • Technical and professional skills development, and
  • Local delivery and participation in the arts.

Previously, RADF funding could be used for activities including:

  • Developing regional skills – Supporting professional artists and arts workers
  • Building community cultural capacity – Supporting locally determined arts and cultural priorities
  • Cultural tourism – Supporting cultural activities not supported by other State Government agencies
  • Concept development – Supporting participation of community members in arts development projects run by professional artists and arts workers
  • Contemporary collections / stories – Preserving and providing access to significant local collections or stories

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. 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.”

* * *

Regional Arts Development Fund 2018-19

Council Name
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
Isaac Regional
Livingstone Shire

Disclosure: editor Anne Miller is also the secretary of the not-for-profit community group South Burnett Arts Inc

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