Increase Funding Proposed for Cultural Programs

November 22, 2010

The Board of the Copyright Agency will recommend an increase in the amount which may be allocated to the Cultural Fund at its AGM in Sydney on 25 November.

The increase will take the Cultural Fund allocation from 1% to 1.5% of the company’s income receipts from licensing fees and interest.  Based on 2009-10’s income receipts this would represent a total of $2.3m available for the support of cultural projects – $762,000 more than the $1.5m currently authorised.

The Cultural Fund supports a wide variety of projects which aim to encourage, and provide practical assistance to our members and the Australian cultural community, doing so through the main Fund, along with individuals and their career development through the Career Fund.

Chair of the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund Committee and Copyright Agency Director, Brian Johns, says the role of the organisation through the Cultural Fund, as a leader for development in publishing and the visual arts has grown in importance over recent years.

“Cultural Fund support is not only of immediate benefit to those receiving funding, but will leave a lasting legacy for creativity in Australia by building skills, and recognising and promoting Australian writing, publishing and visual arts,” he said.

Mr Johns says that with the improved financial capacity from the proposed increase, the Cultural Fund will be able to play a greater role through larger and more comprehensive initiatives brought to it for consideration.

“There are always many more applications submitted to the Cultural Fund than can be supported.  Having additional resources available to grant will help support some of these other initiatives which might otherwise miss out on funding.”

Funding by the Copyright Agency has been awarded across a wide range of projects including several key programs supporting publishers and authors.  Examples include the Australian Publishers Association (APA) internship program, which places recent graduates or people without experience into publishing houses to build their editing proficiency.  This is a significant grant aimed at industry skills development.  Another APA program supported by the Fund is the APA’s promotion of Australian children’s books at the Bologna Book Fair (the most prestigious children’s book fair in the world).

The Cultural Fund also supports the Australian Society of Authors’ (ASA) mentorship program in which established Australian writers mentor emerging writers and help them to work on a manuscript to bring it to a publishable stage.  Other grants make possible a seminar program for authors’ career development; and a manuscript assessment program that gives authors useful feedback on their draft manuscripts to help them get their works published.

According to Mr Johns, the Copyright Agency’s licensing revenue will not be affected by the Board’s proposal, saying, ‘It will affect distributions to members and therefore is a decision which should rightly be made by the Copyright Agency’s membership on whose behalf licence fees and other income are collected.’

For more information contact the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund Manager, Zoë Rodriguez, 02 9394 7600.

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