The federal government has announced it will allocate more than $500 million to the country’s nine National Collecting Institutions (NCIs) over the next four years.
- The federal government has committed $535.5 million of funding over four years for Australia’s national institutions
- Australia’s nine National Collecting Institutions have been calling for more funding for repairs and upgrades
- The government says the new funding is intended to secure the institutions’ futures
The institutions have long been vocal about funding neglect, leading to maintenance issues and potentially forcing staffing cuts or the introduction of entry charges.
When announcing the funding, the government accused the Coalition of neglecting the institutions over the past decade and said the $535.5 million of new funding would secure the future of the cultural and historical institutions.
The National Library of Australia will receive the lion’s share, slated to receive $146.2 million — the National Gallery follows behind with $119.1 million.
The National Museum of Australia will receive $78.4 million; the Museum of Australian Democracy — at Old Parliament House — will receive $37.9 million.
Funding between $20 million and $40 million will also be provided to the other five NCIs during the four-year period.
Earlier this week, the government announced that it would act to secure the long-term future of the National Library’s digital archive Trove.
National Gallery of Australia director Nick Mitzevich said the funding came as a great relief for staff.
“It’s a relief that we can look at the next five years and be confident that we will not have staffing cuts, that we won’t curtail our programs, that people will have a sense of stability,” he said.
‘Committed to maintaining and protecting the invaluable institutions’
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today announced the funding boost for the institutions at the National Gallery, which is home to Jackson Pollock’s work Blue Poles.
“The idea that you would house a $500-million artwork in a building with buckets to collect leaks from a leaky roof is absurd,” he said.
“We’re a better country than that and Australia deserves better than that.”
Finance Minister and ACT Senator Katy Gallagher said the federal government’s financial support of the institutions would reverse the state of disrepair they currently found themselves in.
“Canberra is the proud custodian of some of the most treasured pieces of art, literature and culture from Australia’s national story,” she said.
“The Albanese Labor government is committed to maintaining and protecting the invaluable institutions that house them, and reversing the damage and decay that occurred under the previous government.
“The institutions are often the gateway to attracting visitors to the Canberra region and are a key driver of the ACT economy, so this funding will ensure local jobs and the tourism sector are supported into the future.”
Arts Minister Tony Burke said the funding will get Australia’s national institutions “back to where they should be”.
“This funding means people will be able to go to places like the National Gallery of Australia and enjoy the exhibits without worrying about the physical integrity of the building that’s housing them,” he said.
“It is a disgrace that the former Coalition government allowed these institutions to fall into such a shocking state of disrepair.”