Take action and support Canberra's arts.

Find out more and sign the petition below.


Arts Funding in Canberra is no longer best servicing ACT artists, organisations, or the community. Without a viable and flourishing local arts sector, the vibrancy and creativity of the city and community are compromised. The structure of arts funding and the processes to distribute it need to be refreshed, and funding needs to be sufficient to meet community expectations. This must happen in consultation with arts practitioners, to ensure the needs of the ACT Arts Sector are understood and addressed.

In December 2016 the ACT Government made un-announced cuts to the Project Fund component of the ACT Arts Fund. These cuts meant that only 14 Arts projects were funded in 2017, compared to over 60 in previous years. This represented an unprecedented 66% drop in dollar-funding for Canberra Arts projects.

In response to a letter co-signed by over 160 of Canberra’s leading artists, the incoming Arts Minister Gordon Ramsay has since announced that an additional $230,000 of funding will be distributed for 2017 Projects. Although this announcement was welcome news, the reality is that the total amount of Project Funding in 2017 will still only be 65% of what it has been in previous years. This places significant stress on Canberra’s arts ecology, and is contrary to ACT Labor’s election promise to increase Project Funding by $500,000 per year.

The Government’s explanation was that Project Funding monies were reallocated to other Arts activities. The Arts sector has come together to show concern as to how this significant decision by the ACT Government was made without any public consultation, particularly when it is so out of step with the views of the community, and that there has been no demonstration as to what other Arts activities have received this additional support. This reflects that the Arts Fund does not currently provide the best possible return on investment for ACT Artists, Organisations, and the Community. This must be addressed through an Arts Advisory Board that reports to the Minister.


Arts Funding needs to be directed to provide the best possible return on investment for ACT Artists, Organisations, and the Community. Recent announcements in Arts Project Funding highlight the need for funding and policy to be expanded and administered in consultation with arts practitioners so that it addresses the needs of the ACT Arts Sector. Your petitioners therefore request the Assembly to call on the Government to:

  1. Honour its election commitment to increase annual Project Funding by $500K so that each year recurrent Project Funding is budgeted at a minimum of $1.25 million, commencing in the 2017-18 budget year.
  2. Ensure that this increase in Project Funding be funded through an increase in the Arts Fund, and not taken from other parts of the Arts Fund.
  3. Set up an Arts Ministerial Advisory Board by 1 September 2017, reporting directly to the Minister. This Board will be established to provide principled and transparent advice around arts funding and policy, and made up of arts practitioners nominated by the Arts Community.
  4. Ensure that the Minister works with the Arts Community to create the best possible funding model for the Arts Fund that will best service ACT Artists, Organisations, and the Community, for implementation in 2018 and going forward.
  5. Increase the overall Arts Fund by a minimum of $1.25 million beginning in the 2017-18 budget.


  • For 2016-17, the ACT Government originally approved just 1/3 of the value of arts project funding that was provided in previous years.
  • After 160 of Canberra’s leading artists protested, arts project funding was increased by another third.  But this funding is still only 2/3 of what it was.
  • This has united the arts community like never before.
  • The lack of consultation and understanding of the needs of artists needs to change.
  • This petition asks the ACT government to fulfil its election commitment to increase arts funding in the coming year, to commit to sustainable increases in the longer term, and to set up an arts advisory council so that arts funding and policy is administered in consultation with the sector.
  • This will make sure our investments in the arts get the best possible outcomes.
  • A viable and active arts sector is a big part of what makes this city vibrant and interesting.


Petition closes Friday 21 April 2017

Do you live in the ACT?

Click the button above to sign the e-petition at the ACT Legislative Assembly website.

Note that you can sign via a mobile phone by clicking YES to “Do you wish to sign this petition?" but will not be able to read the full terms of the petition.

Click the button above to sign our CommunityRun petition.

Note that only ACT residents are eligible to sign the formal petition to the ACT Legislative Assembly, but we appreciate support from artists and the wider community across the Capital region and beyond.


If you'd like to print out your own paper petition form to collect signatures at local events or within your organisation, download and print the PDF and bring your collected signature forms to Canberra Contemporary Arts Space in Gorman House (open Tues-Sat 11am-5pm).

Please ensure that people sign either the e-petition or the paper petition, but not both!


‘A fair go’ needed for artists, new Arts Action Group says - Helen Musa for CityNews

Canberra Artists Action Group - Facebook

E-Petition - for ACT residents only

Community Run Petition - for non-ACT residents only