An overhaul of the Australia Council, more investment in young artists, greater resources for indigenous languages and location sweeteners to increase the competitiveness of the Australian film industry, are top of the list of new initiatives announced yesterday.

”It’s not just the enjoyment they bring, I see the artist as central to us as a nation and to securing its future,” said Federal Arts Minister Simon Crean in a statement to the National Press Club in Canberra that has been broadly welcomed by arts organisations across the country. The raft of new measures will inject a substantial $235 million into the arts economy.

Six organisations in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia will receive an extra $9.3 million in funding for touring and education. The companies who benefit are Bangarra Dance Theatre, Sydney’s Belvoir Theatre, Malthouse Theatre in Melbourmne, Circus Oz, Black Swan Theatre Company from Perth and the West Australian Ballet.

Arts education is a big winner. The extra money includes a 30 per cent funding increase for six key institutions including the National Institute of Dramatic Art and the Australian Ballet School, while Federal MPs get to share out $8.1 million as part of a ”Creative Young Stars Program”. Some $3.4...