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Environment and Communications Legislation Committee
Creative Partnerships Australia

Creative Partnerships Australia


CHAIR: Welcome, Ms Menzies. Thank you for joining us. Do you have an opening statement?

Ms Menzies : No.

CHAIR: Excellent.

Senator BILYK: Did we ask Screen Australia whether they had an opening statement?

CHAIR: Yes, we did. Fire away, Senator Bilyk.

Senator BILYK: I understand that Creative Partnerships are going to receive an increase in their funding by a factor of $5.4 million. Is that correct?

Ms Menzies : No. I'm sorry, it's not. Our funding was renewed at the MYEFO to its current levels. So there has been no increase.

Senator BILYK: It was renewed, you said, to current levels?

Ms Menzies : Yes.

Senator BILYK: Have you got the same amount in this budget as you had in the last budget?

Ms Menzies : Yes.

Senator BILYK: Are you receiving the same amount?

Ms Menzies : Yes.

Senator BILYK: So have you got any staffing issues or anything like that around funding? Any concerns with funding in that area?

Ms Menzies : No. Not at all.

Senator BILYK: Everything is rosy in the world of Creative Partnerships, is it?

Ms Menzies : No. I don't want to blow my own trumpet, Senator.

CHAIR: Go ahead.

Ms Menzies : We do a lot of good work for a small amount of money. We're pretty efficient.

Senator BILYK: As I read the budget paper—I'm not an economist; I'm happy to get it clarified—I understand that $5.4 million from the Australia Council was going to Creative Partnerships Australia.

Ms Menzies : No. Several years ago, an amount was redirected from the Australia Council to Creative Partnerships. That amount, I think, was $1.8 million. The department might confirm that. That was for a fixed period of three years. A decision has been made to continue that. So it's same-same for us.

Senator BILYK: To continue the $1.8 million?

Ms Menzies : Yes.

Senator BILYK: Does that mean in this year's budget Australia Council will lose $1.8 million?

Ms Menzies : It's for next year's budget, and they are not losing it because they haven't had it for the last three years. It's just a continuation of the same measure.

Senator BILYK: So if I add up $1.8 million over three years, that adds up. Did you expect that this funding would be continued?

Ms Menzies : I think 'expect' would be a little pompous of me. I hoped. I certainly lobbied for it.

Senator Fifield: You had faith.

Ms Menzies : I had faith. That's a good phrase to use. Thank you, Minister.

Senator BILYK: When did you find out that it was going to be continued in this way?

Ms Menzies : The minister made that announcement in MYEFO in December last year.

Senator BILYK: Are you able to tell me what your overall current budget is?

Ms Menzies : It's about $4.4 million.

Senator BILYK: Are you able to tell me what sort of commitments you've got or you've made from that budget for the oncoming year and for last year?

Ms Menzies : I guess we'll continue the programs that we run as they are currently. That includes approximately $1.5 million going out to the sector in our matched funding programs.

Senator BILYK: That is the dollar for dollar one, is it?

Ms Menzies : Yes. That's right.

Senator BILYK: How much of the budget goes out?

Ms Menzies : About $1.5 million.

Senator BILYK: What happens to the rest of the money you've got?

Ms Menzies : It goes to our operations. Just in case you think that sounds like a lot of money, we have offices based in five states around Australia.

Senator BILYK: Can you tell me what states they are?

Ms Menzies : Yes. Our head office is in Melbourne. We have one staff member based in each of Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Perth.

Senator BILYK: One staff member in each?

Ms Menzies : Yes.

Senator BILYK: Are you able to tell me the costs of running those offices for one staff member?

Ms Menzies : Not directly, but I'll take that on notice and get that to you.

Senator BILYK: So they are all rented accommodation, I presume, are they?

Ms Menzies : In some states, we pay very little rent. In some, it's free. In others, we pay commercial rent.

Senator BILYK: Take that on notice and get me that information.

Ms Menzies : Sure.

Senator BILYK: And the staffing costs as well.

Ms Menzies : Sure.

Senator BILYK: The specific costs that we require for how much those staff are earning, on-costs and the whole kit and caboodle.

Ms Menzies : No problem.

Senator BILYK: I'd really appreciate that. What else have you been doing in the past 12 months or so in Creative Partnerships Australia?

Ms Menzies : I might draw your attention to a program we're particularly pleased with, which is a mentoring program that we run. We get experienced arts fundraisers to mentor up-and-coming arts fundraisers or small to medium arts organisations. It's a high-impact program for the organisations who are receiving those mentorships. It's also a way in which the sector as a whole can lift its skills in fundraising. With private sector support becoming more and more important for arts companies to access, it's really important that the sector is skilled in how to both gain and maintain those funds. There's no tertiary degree you can do to learn these skills. They are very much on-the-job skills.

Senator BILYK: And you run those master classes?

Ms Menzies : We run a mentorship program, which is one on one, where we match experienced fundraisers with up-and-coming fundraisers. We do some group work with them as well, which we have overwhelmingly positive feedback on.

Senator BILYK: So as a senator for Tasmania, how do up-and-coming Tasmanian artists access these facilities? I presume you don't go to Tasmania?

Ms Menzies : We do. We have a Victorian and Tasmanian manager. Every state is covered by a state manager. So our Perth based person covers WA and South Australia. Our Victorian state manager covers Tasmania. Our Sydney based person covers the ACT. So every state has access to one of our state managers and they travel there regularly. In fact, our Tasmanian manager was down there this week. He's down there probably at least once a month, I would say.

Senator BILYK: I want to get a breakdown of when they've actually been in Tasmania, what they've been doing, the costs of the programs they've been running and the number of participants.

Ms Menzies : Sure.

Senator BILYK: Thank you. I think that's the end of that program for me.

CHAIR: Excellent. Thank you, Ms Menzies.