Funding by Government and Business

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This article describes one of nine areas listed in Overview of Music Statistics: ABS, outlining the contribution of the Australian Bureau of Statistics to knowledge of the music sector.[1]


Table 1

Public Funding of Music in Australia contains a comprehensive statistical review of government funding; an update of the article to 2009-10 is scheduled. The present section contains a brief introduction in the context of this overview. Table 1 shows statistics for 2009-10 for Australian Government and total State/Territory Government funding.

Among general recurrent (as distinct from capital) expenditure items related to music, music performance in 2009-10 was funded by $115 million, 56% from the Australian Government and 44% from States and Territories. Music theatre and opera attracted $44 million, divided almost equally between the two levels of government. Music composition and publishing were funded by a modest $2.6 million, of which more than three-quarters came from the central government.

Music in total received funding of $162 million, of which $88 million (55%) was from the Australian Government and the rest from States and Territories. Total funding for music exceeded the total funding of other performing arts ($155 million), for which 59% came from State and Territory governments. The States and Territories also provide all, or practically all, funding of performing arts venues (other than an unknown amount from local governments).

Chart 1

Total arts funding by the Australian Government in Table 1 excludes $1.3 billion of radio and television funding, for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). Both institutions are vitally important for the health of Australian music and other performing arts, through their own general funding and other arrangements. Apart from the ABC and SBS, total Australian Government funding of the arts amounted to $469 million in 2009-10, of which $152 million is shown as music and other performing arts in Table 1. State and Territory government funding of the arts totalled $689 million, including $214 million for venues and $165 million for performing arts.

Although the local government funding statistics have improved, they still contain less detail than for the two other levels of government. There are comparable indicators, however, covering total performing arts (Chart 1). In 2009-10, local government funding of performing arts amounted to $91 million (22% of the total for all three levels). This compared with $150 million from the Australian Government (37%) and $165 million from the States and Territories (41%).

Private Sector

The ABS provides no statistics for expenditure on culture by the private sector. The annual review forming the basis for this section (ABS Cat 4172.0) lists three sources which are discussed in Overview of Music Statistics: Other Sources: the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and the Arts (DEWHA), the Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF), and the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) 2010


Hans Hoegh-Guldberg. Entered 28 October 2011 as part of general ABS overview. Made into independent article 9 February 2012. Most recent update 14 February 2012.


  1. Referring to arts education, the explanatory notes to the ABS publication (Cat 4183.0), only funding by government arts portfolios is included, usually relating to major institutions specialising in education of a cultural nature such as the National Academy of Music. Cultural disciplines within educational institutions such as universities and tertiary colleges are largely funded by education portfolios and therefore generally excluded. Funding is also excluded for special libraries and libraries in higher education institutions and schools, and for cultural activities which are integral parts of larger entities (such as police and military bands).
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