Federal Arts Funding

On 18 March 2017, NAVA welcomed the announcement by the Arts Minister, Mitch Fifield that there will be partial return of funds from the Catalyst Fund to the Australia Council. NAVA hopes that this signals the Government’s new interest in implementing its stated intention to stimulate creativity and innovation, by recognising with increased funding, the essential role of the arts, including in the innovation agenda. Read NAVA's full response here.

Follow the latest updates on visual arts funding and how this affects NAVA, visual arts organisations and artists.

Funding impacts

Latest News

An update on the Australia Council's funding arrangements, 3 April 2017

Rosanna Ryan, Australia Council head breaks silence on axing of Catalyst grants, changes to arts funding, ABC Books and Arts, 28 March 2017

Deborah Stone, Australia Council reveals how much will be left for arts grants, ArtsHub, 24 March 2017

Richard Watts, Catalyst aftermath: the devil is in the detail, ArtsHub, 21 March 2017

Jo Cause, After the Catalyst arts funding mess, many questions remain, The Conversation, 21 March 2017

Matthew Westwood, End of Catalyst as Mitch Fifield listens to arts sector, The Australian, 21 March 2017

Matthew Westwood, Cheers and fears for arts funding about-face, The Australian, 20 March 2017

Ellie Cooper, Arts Sector Cautiously Optimistic About New Funding Arrangement, Pro Bono Australia, 20 March 2017

Tamara Winikoff, NAVA’s response to return of Catalyst funds to the Australia Council, March 20 2017

Michael Koziol, Arts sector 'delighted' as government axes George Brandis' arts 'slush fund’, SMH, 19 March 2017

Coalition to axe Abbott-era arts fund Catalyst after it was labelled 'a slush fund’, The Guardian, 19 March 2017

Henry Belot, Mitch Fifield abolishes arts fund Catalyst after community feedback, ABC, 18 March 2017

Richard Watts, Catalyst funds returned to Australia Council, ArtsHub, 18 March 2017

Clive Paget, Mitch Fifield scraps controversial Catalyst Fund, Limelight, 18 March 2017

BREAKING: Catalyst scrapped after almost two years of funding chaos, Daily Review, 18 March 2017

Federal Arts Budget

In the 2014 Federal Budget, cuts were made to the Australia Council’s appropriation of $28.2m over four years. In further cuts to the 2014 budget, the large Canberra-based cultural organisations had their back office functions amalgamated to save $2.4 million over four years (the National Film and Sound Archive, the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, Old Parliament House and the National Archives of Australia).

In the 2015 Federal Budget, the Government announced that $104.8M would be removed over four years from the Australia Council's funding.

The sector response to this announcement was loud and critical.

A Senate Inquiry into the impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the arts was called in June 2015 and the report was tabled in December 2015.

Four Year Funding

On Friday 13 May 2016, the Australia Council announced the result of the arts organisational funding round which provides 4 year operational support to small to medium and major organisations.

Congratulations to the 128 organisations who received funding and especially the 17 Indigenous organisations. This funding is a well deserved investment in the Australian arts.

What Changed

With this announcement came the devastating news that NAVA, alongside 64 other organisations, did not receive funding. These key organisations are vital to the health of the arts ecology and the impact will be felt far and wide.

Impact on NAVA

This now means that the essential services NAVA has been providing to the visual and media arts, craft and design sector are under serious threat.

NAVA has made some internal changes and will continue to provide a number of grants, services, investment and support for visual artists in 2017, including our insurance package containing cover for public liability, personal accident and the new goods in transit cover.

While this loss of funding is a major setback and poses a significant challenge for NAVA, there are ways you can help. One way is to become a member, or if you are already, encouraging others to join.

Take Action

We ask you, our members, subscribers and supporters to get behind NAVA, to take action and call for a reversal of the cuts.

Write a Letter

Write a letter to ask that this decision be reversed, addressed to Rupert Myer, Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts r.myer@australiacouncil.gov.au and copied to the Arts Minister, Mitch Fifield, minister@communications.gov.au and Shadow Arts Minster Tony Burke, Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au

In your letter you could explain to them:

  • why you value what NAVA does. For example the uniquely important role it plays in providing expert art industry advice to governments and other key decision makers, effective advocacy for Australian artists and the broader visual arts sector, setting best practice standards for the industry and providing a wealth of services which assist artists to build sustainable careers and make an essential contribution to the cultural, social and economic wellbeing of the country;
  • how NAVA has helped you whether it is through grants, advice, insurance or support
  • why you are a member of NAVA and why you believe NAVA is an important organisation.

Sign our petition

We had asked you to sign our petition urging the Australia Council for the Arts to find a way to fund NAVA and secure the future for the visual arts, craft and design sector.

Our very grateful thanks go to the almost 2,000 people who pledged their support. This petition was delivered in 2016 to Rupert Myer, Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Join as a NAVA Member

If NAVA was to double its number of paying Members we could continue unharmed. So if you are currently a free subscriber, please consider upgrading your membership to a NAVA Premium or Premium Plus, and if you are already a member, get a friend to join as well. Each paid membership shows your support and will help us continue our work!

Please share this link across your social media networks.

Make a Donation

Make a tax deductible donation and help NAVA to be able to survive this devastating reduction of our resources.

National Day of Action

In response to the recent Australia Council funding decisions, the lack of consultation around changes to arms length funding, and lack of government arts policy or inclusion in the 'innovation agenda', the arts sector called for a National Day of Action on 17 June 2016.

Public Discussion

NAVA and Artspace hosted three 'town hall' public discussions exploring the current arts funding landscape.

At the first event held on Monday 30 May, organisations, colleagues, artists, and independent practitioners who have been affected by the recent Australia Council funding announcements were invited to air their concerns, listen to those affected, and discuss how this would affect our sector. In the second 'Let's Talk' we discussed what actions to take in the lead up to and after the election. In the final 'Let's Talk' for 2016, a conversation was held with the Directors of Contemporary Art Organisations (CAO) from across Australia with a focus on how we should value the small to medium sector.

Visual Arts Sector Response to Outcome of Australia Council 4 Year Funding

Thursday 19 May 2016

Contemporary Art Organisations Australia (CAOS) a 25-year-old national network of 14 independent art spaces, issued a statement from the visual arts sector in response to the outcome of Australia Council 4 Year Funding.

"Audience numbers for visual art are up. Australian artists are driving the innovation agenda and are recognised globally. There has never been a more significant time to invest in innovation and creativity: and still our arts are in CAOs.

The announcement by the Australia Council that 65 organisations will no longer receive funding under its Four-Year Funding program (previously Key Organisations) delivers a major blow to Australia’s contemporary visual arts sector."

Show your support


You can show your support of NAVA by sharing this image, hashtag #saveNAVA and the below link across social media and online spreading the message far and wide.


Download this image

Thank you for your support!

NAVA would like to sincerely thank all our members, artists and supporters who have sent us well wishes, written letters on our behalf, joined as members or made donations. Every action helps!

We would like to thank:

All the funded organisations who have become NAVA Members to show their support

Adam Bandt

Alexie Glass-Kantor & the Artspace Team

Alison Carroll

Anne Dunn

Anne Ferran

Barry Keldoulis

Bek Lambert

Benjamin Forster

Bonita Ely

Brendan Wall

Brian Tucker

Bridget Currie

Cad Factory

Cara-Ann Simpson

Carl Milton

Catherine van Wilgenburg

Christina Davison

Claire Taylor

Clare Cooper

Colin Rhodes

Danie Mellor

David Broker

Deb Mills

Deborah Kelly

Diana Lee-Gobbitt

Dick Letts

Dominic Kirkwood

Electra Frost Accounting

Ella Whateley

Elvis Richardson

Emine Karakan

Feral Arts

Fern Smith

Gail Kovatseff

Georgia Cribb & the NETS Victoria Team

Gillian McCracken

Grace Cochrane

Greer Taylor

Hania Walczowska

Helen Curtis

Henry Boston

Hugh Sadler + Marilyn Chalkley

Jack Randell

Jacqueline Spedding

Jane Burns

Jane Kreis

Jane O’Neill

Janice Lally

Jeff Meiners

Jess Cook

Jo Kellock

Joanna Bayndrian

John Davis

John Saunders & the Drama Australia Team

Julianne Schultz

Julie Dyson

Julie Ewington

Julie Lien

Julie Sowry

Juliet Rogues

Justin Balmain

Karin Findeis

Kathy and Laurence Freedman

Katy Alexander

Kevin Murray

Khaled Sabsabi

Lawrence English

Lesley Alway

Liana Heath

Lisa Cahill

Liz Ann Macgregor

Liz Day

Liz Nowell

Liz Treqeuza

Lizzie Horne

Loretta Picone

Lucille Martin

Luke Wilcox

Maggie Gresson

Mandy Martin

Mandy Martin

Marco Berton

Maria Miranda

Marion Chapman

Martha Jabour

Michael Dagostino & the Campbelltown Arts Centre Team

Michael Graeve

Michael Meszaros

Michael O’Hanlon

Michelle Ely

Miik Green

Nicole Beyer

Nicole Wells

Oliver Lardner

Pat Hoffie

Patricia Peterson

Paul Brown

Paula Abood

Penny Ryan

Peter Day

Phillipa Sprott

PJ Collins

pvi collective

Rachel Healy

Rae O'Connell

Richard Letts

Rick Clise

Rita Lazauskas

Robyn Ayres

Rosalind Price

Ross Harley

Sadami Konchi

Samantha Thompson

Sandra Gattendorf

Sarah Body

Sarah Last

Sharon Muir

Sophie Penkenthman-Young

Stephanie Britton

Steve Eland

Steve Pozel

Stuart Jackson

Sue Pedley

Sue Smith & ASSP Gallery Port Adelaide

Susan Wacher

Suzann Victor

Suzanne Moss

Tara Gilbee

Ted Snell

Wendy McDougall

Zanny Begg

Zoe Young

2016 Media Articles

20th May


19th May


18th May



17th May





16th May





14th May



13th May



















12th May



11th May