Federal Budget Pumps Millions Into Kids Screen Content, National Film and Sound Archive

Luke Hemsworth
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Kids TV creators, the National Film and Sound Archive, and music festivals are among the winners in the 2024-25 Budget, presented late Tuesday (May 14).

The creative industries have welcomed treasurer Jim Chalmers’ third budget, which includes $14.5 million to support the production of Australian children’s screen content, and $9.3 million set aside to “expand and enhance the National Film and Sound Archive, money that will help store the collection of “historically significant” but highly flammable nitrate-based film and photos.

The nation’s network of live music venues and festivals, under immense pressure from the cost-of-living crisis, score funding to the tune of $8.6 million, committed for the Revive Live program.

The Budget also allocates $5.2 million to expand and develop the Canberra and Darwin symphony orchestras, and $115.2 million is earmarked for Australia’s eight national arts training organisations to “ensure their continued operation in fostering the next generation of creative talent across screen, music, performing arts and dance.”

It’s welcome news and a good start, the nation’s creative industries peak bodies say.

“Public investment in the performing arts delivers overwhelming social, economic and cultural benefits for all Australians,” comments Evelyn Richardson, CEO of Live Performance Australia.

As the Albanese government “looks to attract more business investment to Australia in key industries through its ‘Future Made in Australia’ initiative, we urge it to consider the opportunity to boost investment in our live theatre sector through a scheme of tax incentives to offset production costs.” Right now, she continues, Australia’s live theatre makers and producers are competing with the U.S. and U.K. for investment capital.

The $8.6 million investment in Revive Live is timely, notes APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Omston, and follows the surprise cancelation of Splendour in the Grass festival and the imminent shuttering of Brisbane’s beloved grassroots music venue The Zoo. “We know there are many reasons for the continuing closure of iconic venues and festivals across the country,” adds Ormston. “These include substantial increased costs associated with supply chains, soaring public liability insurance premiums, as well as changes in consumer behaviour with cost-of-living pressures.”

The trade body, a key business partner to Australasian music creators, reiterates calls for a sustainable long-term measure – “a national catalyst in the form of a tax offset to revive Australian live music.”

The budget contains an eye-catching $9.3 billion surplus, and aims to reduce the pain of the of household energy bills, rent and plugs billion into transport networks and renewable energy. On the flipside, concerns over gross debt, future deficits and inflation are far from buried.

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