In 2002-03, government funding for cultural activities totalled $4,933.1m, with state and territory governments providing almost half (45% or $2,238.1m), the Australian Government contributing 34% ($1,670.5m), and local government making up the balance of 21% ($1,024.5m).
Funding for capital expenditure accounted for 12% of cultural funding by all levels of government, while recurrent expenditure accounted for the remaining 88%.
Apart from direct funding, the Australian Government also provides assistance through tax concessions such as the Cultural Gifts Program, which offers tax deductions to encourage the donation of items of cultural significance to public art galleries, museums and libraries.
According to the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) Annual Report for 2002-03, 746 donations were made to the program in that year with a total value of $44.0m.
This compares with $27.5m in 2001-02 and $18.2m in 2000-01, with the significant increases over this period due in part to various changes in taxation provisions that were introduced in May 2000, and which made cultural philanthropy a more attractive proposition.
In 2002-03, the majority of Australian Government cultural funding supported Arts activities ($1,209.4m or 72% of total Australian Government funding). Broadcasting and film was the main beneficiary receiving over half of the total funding provided ($979.6m or 59%).
In contrast, state and territory governments directed the majority of their funding to Heritage activities ($1,891.3m or 85%) in 2002-03. Nature parks and reserves received $987.8m representing 44% of the total state and territory government funding for cultural activities.
While detailed figures for local government are not available for 2002-03, data for 2000-01 show that 53% of its cultural funding was provided to Libraries and archives and 15% to Public halls and civic centres.
All three tiers of government increased their funding of cultural activities over the period 1999-2000 to 2002-03, with local governments leading (up by 26%), closely followed by state and territory governments (24%), and the Australian Government (15%).
4.2 Cultural funding - 1999-2000 to 2002-03