AFTRS, NIDA to receive budget lifeline as part of $115.2 million arts schools package

AFTRS has been included in a $115.2 million package to be announced as part of this year's budget.

The Federal Government will allocate nearly $75 million for the National Institute of Dramatic Australia (NIDA) and the Australian Film and Television Radio School (AFTRS) in tomorrow night’s budget as part of a funding package for performing arts schools.

As reported in The Saturday Paper, NIDA and AFTRS join the Australian Ballet School, Australian National Academy of Music, Australian Youth Orchestra, NAISDA Dance College, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, and Australian National Academy of Music in the Arts8 collective that will receive $115.2 million over four years and a further $36.9 million in ongoing annual funding.

Of the announced funding, $51.9 million will go to NIDA and $23.2 million is set to go to AFTRS.

AFTRS CEO Nell Greenwood told IF the investment effectively reversed the 20 per cent reduction in funding allocation over the past decade.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Minister Burke and the Government for this restoration of funding,” she said.

“As we all know, this is a time of immense change in the screen and audio industries with incredible opportunities and challenges to navigate. Now, more than ever, the sector needs a robust, well-supported national screen and audio school to support the thinking, the training, the industry partnerships and the educational pathways needed so Australian talent and Australian stories can thrive in this evolving landscape.”

NIDA was previously given $5 million in Jim Chalmers’ first budget as Treasurer, with Arts Minister Tony Burke pledging further support while visiting the institute six months later following the release of the Revive National Cultural Policy.

“There’s a lot that we’ve done in the cultural policy that will follow through in First Nations productions, in places for every story, that will provide opportunities in dance, in theatre, on screen, with all the different parts of Revive that we’re rolling out,” he said.

“To do that, we need the best-trained workforce, the best-trained creatives, the best-trained storytellers.”

Treasurer Jim Chalmers will deliver the 2024–25 Budget at approximately 7:30 pm (AEST) on Tuesday, May 14.