After a horror year of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the arts hard, the 2021-22 federal Budget announced a modest $223 million in additional support to the sector, with the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, finally acknowledging in his Budget speech the arts “continue to do it tough”.

Paul Fletcher Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher

This long overdue call out to the arts community follows Frydenberg’s failureto mention the sector in his belated 2020-21 Budget speech last October, and long delays in spending any of the arts “support package” announced last June, including the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund.

This small uplift in the arts’ fortunes comes one month after the federal Arts Minister, Paul Fletcher, called the Australia Council’s 29 major performing arts companies a “cosy club”in a speech to the Sydney Institute, part of a pattern arts advocate Esther Anatolitis notedof the government talking arts and culture both up and down.

Yet researchby The Australia Institute last year found the arts improved the mood of...