Arts Funding Falls Short For Western Sydney

Western Sydney councils are calling on the NSW Government to address the continuing disparity and lack of diverse resourcing for the region’s arts and cultural industry.

Western Sydney’s ongoing arts funding shortfall is once again at fore, following the state government’s announcement of an historic investment for the Powerhouse in Parramatta this week.

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) President Barry Calvert said, “For decades, the region’s 2.5 million residents – who make up almost half the population of Greater Sydney – have been making do with less: less access, less infrastructure and less funding. The fact remains that investment in Western Sydney’s local arts and cultural economies is seriously in deficit.

“Despite the NSW Government’s Powerhouse investment, the most recent report on arts funding distribution[1] reflected that the region received just one per cent of Commonwealth arts program funding, and 5.5 % of the state’s cultural arts, heritage and events funding. This, despite the fact that one in 10 Australians live in Western Sydney.

“Meanwhile, an earlier announcement this month showed resounding state government support for yet another theatre rehabilitation project in inner Sydney. For this government to consider ploughing further funding into Eastern Sydney’s arts sector, given the stark contrast of offerings in Western Sydney, is a sobering indication of the extent to which inequitable policy is applied to our region,” said Clr Calvert.

“Currently, administration and support of Western Sydney’s arts and cultural centres is overwhelmingly managed by Councils. While state funding has increased in recent years, the majority of this is focused on the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta. While a welcome move, this does not amount to investment in Western Sydney’s extraordinary artistic offerings, or in resourcing locally-grown cultural infrastructure.

“The Premier’s recently-avowed focus on Western Sydney is an opportunity for the state government to apply a mature approach to properly resourcing the region. It’s time to ensure our communities are prioritised as deserving of the same level of opportunity and access that is available to other Sydneysiders,” he said.

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