Backing Australia's Cultural Capital And The Jobs It Creates

24 November 2020

Victoria’s reputation as the nation’s cultural capital will be permanently cemented, thanks to a massive new investment in the Victorian Budget 2020/21.

The Andrews Labor Government will invest more than $1.46 billion to transform Melbourne’s Arts Precinct –bringing visitors from interstate and overseas, creating thousands of Victorian jobs and giving families a new public place to enjoy and explore.

The first phase of the Melbourne Arts Precinct in Southbank will be Australia’s biggest ever cultural infrastructure project. It will build NGV Contemporary – the country’s largest gallery dedicated to contemporary art and design – and deliver foundational works for the second phase of this city-shaping project, which will focus on redeveloping and expanding Arts Centre Melbourne.

The new gallery at 77 Southbank Boulevard will present local and international contemporary art, design and fashion – for both Victorian, interstate and international audiences. It will be a design masterpiece in its own right with a competition launched soon to select an Australian architectural team to design this new landmark for Melbourne.

The gallery will be set in a new 18,000 square metre immersive public garden – a space for all Victorians to enjoy, with outdoor performances, public art, cafes and restaurants. The public space opened up by the new garden will be the equivalent to the MCG – the only true measurement in Victoria – transforming the area for families.

The garden will connect the new gallery to Arts Centre Melbourne and NGV International on St Kilda Road, the diverse cultural offering on Southbank Boulevard and along Sturt Street, and to the Yarra.

The project will create an estimated 5,000 jobs in construction and support more than 200 new ongoing jobs in Victoria’s creative sector when complete. It is set to boost Victoria’s cultural tourism industry, which pre-pandemic was worth $2.5 billion a year. Already some 1.5 million international and interstate visitors pass through the doors of the NGV in a standard year – half of all patrons.

The Budget contains a further $220 million to support much-loved creative spaces, industries and workers, taking the total investment in Victoria’s creative life and recovery to a record $1.68 billion.

This includes $34.7 million for regional creative infrastructure projects – backing regional galleries, boosting regional economies and providing more creative experiences for Victorians wherever they live.

Funding will create a new exhibition space in Kyneton at the old primary school, upgrades to Benalla Art Gallery and further investment in the Castlemaine Goods Shed, Shepparton Art Museum, Latrobe Creative Precinct and more.

A new program will also support suburban and regional galleries and museums to undertake improvements that will enable them to attract and host high-quality touring exhibitions – bringing art to every corner of our state.

More than $21 million will be invested in Victoria’s screen industry to ensure it emerges from the pandemic stronger than ever and is well positioned to capitalise on high global demand for screen content.

A further $9 million boost to the Creative Industries Survival Package will support hard-hit independent creatives and microbusinesses, regional touring and the contemporary music industry, as well as First Peoples focused initiatives.

The Budget also provides $19.8 million in capital and operational funding to help state-owned cultural institutions and venues recover, adapt and meet the challenges ahead. This includes projects to make venues COVIDSafe and enable them to present outdoor events and performances.

And $24 million will go to the upkeep of Victoria’s beloved state-owned cultural venues, supporting these iconic institutes for generations to come and continuing to provide an affordable home for a range of non-government arts and cultural organisations.

The Government has separately allocated more than $94.5 million to ensure the viability of agencies such as the National Gallery Victoria and Museums Victoria; and secure jobs in a range of creative, live music and screen organisations within the experience economy.

The Government has also invested $17.2 million for summer and autumn programs at state-owned centres including the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and the Geelong Arts Centre.

This activation funding will also support programming at organisations including Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Midsumma that would have been otherwise unviable, and support for live music in Melbourne’s suburbs and regional Victoria.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“We are Australia’s cultural capital. This project will make our number one position permanent.”

“The Melbourne Arts Precinct is a generational project that will bring people to our state and support jobs now and for decades to come. It’s a game changer.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson

“As we recover from this pandemic, it makes sense that we play to our strengths. And our creative industries are the heart and soul of Victoria – and a major driver of our economy and jobs.”

“These projects will make sure more Victorians can enjoy all the things that make life great – and all the things we’ve missed so much.”

Reviewed 24 November 2020

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