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4183.0 - Cultural Funding by Government, Australia, 2004-05  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/08/2006   
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This publication contains estimates of Australian public funding for arts and cultural activities, facilities and services for the three years from 2002-03 to 2004-05. Estimates for the three levels of government have been compiled from administrative by-product data obtained by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from annual reports and budget papers, and from information provided by selected Australian Government authorities (including the Australia Council), state and territory governments and local government authorities. Detailed estimates of local government funding of arts and cultural activities are not available for this edition of this publication but are expected to be available for a future edition, when the ABS begins to classify local government data by a more detailed Local Government Purpose Classification.

Funding data in this publication are aligned, where possible, with the categories specified in the Industry Classification of the Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications (cat. no. 4902.0), which were released in 2001. Cultural activities have been classified into two major groups: Heritage; and the Arts.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Damian Sparkes on Adelaide (08) 8237 7425.



Total government funding for cultural activities was $5 billion in 2004-05 ($5,014.9m). The Australian Government contributed $1,760.9m (35.1%) to total cultural funding while the state and territory governments contributed $2,356.3m (47.0%) and local governments provided $897.7m (17.9%).

Broadcasting and film was the largest recipient of funds in 2004-05 with funding of over $1 billion ($1,167.1m or 23.3% of total cultural funding) from the Australian Government and state and territory governments combined. This was an 8.5% increase on the $1,075.7m allocated in 2003-04. The other major recipients of federal and state and territory government funding in 2004-05 were Nature parks and reserves ($1,008.9m or 20.1% of total cultural funding); Libraries and archives ($515.4m) and Other museums ($483.8m).

Changes over time

Between 2003-04 and 2004-05, the Australian Government contribution to cultural funding increased by 3.6% ($61.5m) while the state and territory government contribution rose by 1.4% ($33.6m). During the previous period from 2002-03 to 2003-04 cultural funding by the Australian government increased by $28.9m (1.7%) while the contribution by the state and territory governments had risen by $88.3m (4.0%) during this period.

CULTURAL FUNDING, By level of government - 2002-03 to 2004-05
Graph: CULTURAL FUNDING, By level of government—2002–03 to 2004–05

The increase in funding by the Australian Government was primarily for Broadcasting and film, which received $1,096.5m in 2004-05 compared to $1,012.8m in 2003-04, an increase of $83.7m or 8.3%. Conversely, funding allocated to Other museums fell by $20.3m (10.0%) to $182.1m in 2004-05 from $202.4m in 2003-04.

The state and territory governments' funding for Libraries and archives received the largest increase, rising 14.4% ($49.8m) to $395.3m in 2004-05. Funding for Art museums also rose to reach $170.7m (9.3% or $14.4m) while Performing arts venues at $162.9m had a similar increase of 9.7% ($14.3m). Funding for Zoological parks, aquaria and botanic gardens rose $8.0m (6.2%) to $136.9m, as did funding for Broadcasting and film which was up $7.7m (12.3%) to $70.6m. Offsetting these increases was a fall in funding for Nature parks and reserves (down $33.4m or 3.5%) and Other museums (down $12.6m or 4.0%) compared to 2003-04.

Funding per person

Government cultural funding per person increased for the Australian Government but remained relatively stable for the state and territory governments in 2004-05. Federally, the Australian Government contribution to cultural funding increased by $2.08 per person from $85.06 in 2003-04 to $87.14 in 2004-05. Over the same period, the state and territory governments' contribution increased by $0.36 per person (from $116.25 in 2003-04 to $116.61 in 2004-05). For local governments, cultural funding decreased by $2.88 per person from $47.30 in 2003-04 to $44.42 in 2004-05.



Recurrent expenditure refers mainly to expenditure on wages and salaries, purchases of goods and services, and current grants and subsidies. In 2004-05, recurrent expenditure was $4,533.6m or 90.4% of total cultural funding. The Australian Government allocated $1,736.3m (98.6%) of its cultural funding towards recurrent activity, whereas state and territory governments provided $2,050.1m (87.0%) and local governments contributed $747.2m (83.2%).

Capital expenditure is primarily on the creation of fixed assets and on the acquisition of land, buildings and intangible assets. In any one year, the amount of funding for cultural activities can be affected by high levels of one-off capital expenditure. In 2004-05, capital expenditure by the Australian government was $24.6m, state and territory governments accounted for $306.2m while local governments spent $150.4m.


Australian Government

In 2004-05, the Australian Government allocated the majority of its cultural funding to support Arts activities ($1,329.4m or 75.5%), while Heritage activities received $431.5m (24.5%). The majority of federal Arts funding (82.5%) was attributed to Broadcasting and film ($1,096.5m). The main recipient was Radio and television services which received $967.3m (72.8%) of Arts funding. The largest recipient of Heritage funding was the Other museums category which was allocated $182.1m (42.2%) in 2004-05.

State and territory government

The state and territory governments traditionally direct the majority of their funds towards Heritage activities. In 2004-05, the state and territory governments allocated $1,940.2m, or 82.3% of cultural funding for Heritage activities, while Arts activities received $416.1m, or 17.7% of cultural funding. Across all categories, the largest recipient of funding was the Nature parks and reserves category which received $935.6m (39.7%). Other major recipients were Libraries and archives ($395.3m), Other museums ($301.7m), Art museums ($170.7m) and Performing arts venues ($162.9m).

Cultural funding per person for each of the states was close to the national average ($116.61), with Tasmania being the highest ($157.06) and Queensland the lowest ($92.18). Expenditure per person was significantly higher for the Northern Territory Government ($581.59) and the Australian Capital Territory Government ($171.19).

Funding for National parks and reserves was a major component of per person expenditure for all regions in 2004-05, but especially so in the Northern Territory, where expenditure was $303.02 per person. Tasmania ($60.96) and Western Australia ($59.79) were also well above the national average of $46.30 per person.

Another major component of state and territory government expenditure was for Libraries, where the national average was $16.52 per person ($333.9m in total). The Northern Territory Government ($56.50) and Australian Capital Territory Government ($64.73) spent the most per person, but this is partly because libraries are generally funded by local governments in the other states. Tasmania expenditure was also well above the national average at $45.91 per person.

Local government

In 2004-05, local government funding for cultural activities was $897.7m, which was 17.9% of total cultural funding provided by all levels of government. This is a drop of $47.4m or 5.0% on 2003-04 when local government funding for cultural activities was $945.1m (19.0%). Over a third of local government funding was provided by NSW local governments, where funding was $311.9m (34.7%).

On a per person basis, the average value of local government funding fell from $47.27 per person in 2003-04 to $44.42 per person in 2004-05. Local government in WA contributed the largest amount of cultural funding per person ($67.94) which was $23.52 above the national average. See Explanatory Note 11 for more detail on the reliability of these estimates.

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