NFSA to receive $2 million in additional funding


The National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) will receive a $2 million boost in tomorrow’s Federal Budget as part of a funding package for national collecting institutions.

Announced on Saturday, eight institutions will share in $79.9 million of additional support, of which $32.4 million will go towards the delivery of public services and programs, while $47.5 will be allocated to five institutions for a variety of capital works.

It’s the third time in 12 months the Federal Government has extended assistance to NFSA, having announced $5.5 million over four years to support its digitisation efforts last June, while committing $2.5 million to the organisation in the October budget.

Acting CEO Nancy Eyers told IF the ongoing support would allow its content to remain intact going forward.

“Additional funds for the NFSA are a direct investment in Australia’s cultural heritage, its preservation and accessibility into the future,” she said.

“The NFSA preserves more than 120 years of Australia’s film, television, streaming and web content, radio, music, virtual reality, video games, and other audiovisual media.

“From our oldest surviving film Le Patineur Grotesque (1896) to content created during COVID-19 lockdown, this funding will allow us to ensure their survival in the digital era, for future generations to discover.”

As part of its digitalisation efforts, the NFSA has been converting its magnetic tape holdings, which contain content at risk of being permanently lost if not updated by 2025.

Eyers said the funds from this year’s budget would help future-proof the NFSA’s digital storage capabilities to handle the growing volume of digital content.

“In 2020 we received $5.5 million for the digitisation of our magnetic tape holdings, before the invaluable content they hold is lost forever.

“Thanks to these funds, we’re increasing our digitisation capacity to meet this deadline by the year 2025.

“Digitisation, however, is just the beginning; storage and management of digital collections of this magnitude is a challenge that requires a significant investment in our infrastructure. 

“We expect our digital storage needs to increase by 15-fold, from 7 Petabytes in 2021, to 110 Petabytes in the next five years – the equivalent of 2.4 million hours of television in 4K.”

The other institutions to share in the funding include the Australian National Maritime Museum, Bundanon Trust, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, and the National Portrait Gallery of Australia.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher said the funding would continue to preserve Australia’s cultural heritage.

“We recognise the challenges the pandemic has created for our National Collecting Institutions,” he said.

“That’s why we are delivering this significant funding package to help rebuild the economy, secure jobs and support communities as we continue our resurgence from COVID-19.”

The Federal Budget will be handed down on tomorrow, May 11.