Council reviews arts and culture spending

Ballarat's recent arts, cultural and tourism renaissance is under scrutiny as council considers how to best fund our major events such as White Night and cycling’s Road Nationals.

Under review: the funding for Ballarat's arts and cultural bodies such as MADE is being streamlined.

Under review: the funding for Ballarat's arts and cultural bodies such as MADE is being streamlined.

Ballarat City councillors will consider an independent review of the City of Ballarat’s Arts, Culture and Tourism portfolio at next Wednesday’s council meeting.

The review considers the three-year agreements between the City of Ballarat and Visit Ballarat, the Art Gallery of Ballarat and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (MADE), all of which expire on June 30.

Collectively, the funding agreements between the three bodies and the council are worth $6.2 million annually. The review has not been released to the bodies yet, but all three were consulted during its preparation.

The review comes as the City of Ballarat faces rate capping in the future.

Key issues identified in the review are that financial obligations for Council to the bodies will not exceed the term of council and will be within budget.

Additionally MADE’s agreement has been reduced to 12 months from June 2017, and within that period, council will conduct a feasibility study of its funding of the museum.

The event funding component of Visit Ballarat’s budget will also be reallocated in full to Council.

City Of Ballarat CEO Justine Linley said the new council agreed to review all its arts and culture funding shortly after re-election.

She stressed the review was not a reflection on the management of the bodies.

“The review is designed to make sure we are gaining efficiencies for the amount of money that’s put into the arts generally,” Ms Linley said.

Acting CEO of MADE Sarah Masters says the museum has worked hard to reduce its reliance on council funding.

“Over the period of our time our revenue that we earn has gone from 40 per cent to 46 per cent.

“From MADE’s point of view, it’s very much a focus for us to work with the City to reduce our dependence.”

Visit Ballarat Chair Serena Eldridge says the confirmation of the new agreement is a positive and allows the body to implement planning for future activities.

She says the return of events funding to council is still under negotiation and is not necessarily a done deal.

Art Gallery of Ballarat director Gordon Morrison was unavailable for comment.