Cultural Funding by Government, Australia methodology

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Reference period
2012-13 financial year
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Explanatory notes


1 This publication contains estimates of Australian public expenditure for arts and cultural activities, facilities and services for the Australian Government, state and territory governments and local governments.

Collection, scope and coverage

2 Statistics for the Australian Government and state and territory governments were collected through the Survey of Cultural Funding by Government. Information was collected on the amount of recurrent and capital expenditure by Australian and state and territory government departments (including selected agencies and authorities) for heritage and arts cultural activities, facilities and services. Expenditure from other sources, such as donations, membership costs or entrance fees, has been excluded.

3 Agencies classified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as public trading enterprises (e.g. most performing arts venues) are not included in this collection, except to the extent of any subsidies (or capital funding) paid to them from government budgets.

4 Expenditure by government for major institutions which specialise in education of a cultural nature, such as the National Academy of Music, the National Institute of Dramatic Art, the Australian Ballet School and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School has been included. Expenditure on special libraries (e.g. parliamentary libraries), libraries in higher education institutions and schools is excluded.

5 In order to ensure that expenditure is not counted more than once within the whole of government sector, specific purpose grants received from other levels of government have been netted out of the expenditure for the receiving government.


6 Categories used in this publication have been aligned, where possible, with the Industry Classification from the Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications, 2008 (Second Edition)(cat. no. 4902.0).

7 For information about the divisions and categories used in this publication, please refer to the Appendix.

Sources and methods

Australian Government

8 The Australian Government refers to the federal (national) level of government.

9 Australian Government estimates have been compiled using information provided directly to the ABS by government departments.

State and territory governments

10 State and territory government information was obtained from a range of sources. Departments supplied details of their recurrent and capital expenditure on arts and culture. In addition, a number of agencies and authorities were directly contacted for information upon advice from their respective departments.

Local governments

11 Expenditure on arts and cultural activities by local government are included as part of the Local Government Finance Statistics collection undertaken by the ABS. From 2007-08, local government data has been classified according to the Local Government Purpose Classification (LGPC).

12 Local Government expenditure estimates are obtained from state and territory Local Government Grants Commission's data, or equivalent. Since 2010-11, figures were sourced at the 'total' level for Local Governments in Australia. This is less detail than in previous years, where figures were provided for a number of arts and culture categories.

State comparisons

13 Care should be taken when comparing the values between states and territories for some categories of expenditure as the expenditure details provided may vary according to the administrative arrangements existing in the respective states and territories.

Calculation of per person expenditure

14 Estimates of the resident population of Australia and the states and territories at the mid-point (December quarter) of each collection year are used to calculate per person expenditure. Population estimates have been obtained from Australian Demographic Statistics, September 2013 (cat. no. 3101.0). Estimates of expenditure per person have been rounded to the nearest ten cents.

15 To maintain consistency between levels of government, the same resident population estimates are used for all estimates of per person expenditure, regardless of the level of government under consideration.

Comparison with previous survey results

16 It should be noted that changes in the collection methodology and improvements in scope and coverage occurred in 2007-08. Therefore Australian and state and territory government funding data prior to, and including, 2006-07 are not comparable with more recent data.

17 Local government data were classified according to the Local Government Purpose Classification (LGPC) for the first time in 2007-08. Previously data were based on the Government Purpose Classification (GPC).

Further information

18 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the ABS web site The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.

19 For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Appendix - funding categories

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Quality declaration - summary

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