Total grants and funding for Aboriginal arts in Australia FY 2017-2019

In 2019, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts initiatives received a total of 4.8 million Australian dollars from the Australia Council for the Arts. This was around 600,000 Australian dollars less than what was granted in the previous year, however, first nations projects were also funded through other arts funding categories.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art

There is great diversity within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, and this is perhaps most apparent in the artforms practiced by each individual clan group. Art is a means for Indigenous people to record, share, and express spiritual stories, and an important connection to culture. The importance and cultural value of Indigenous art is also recognized by non-Indigenous Australians and it continues to gain popularity internationally. As a means of further supporting and developing indigenous arts in Australia, dedicated funding opportunities are available to Indigenous artists and Indigenous run projects.

Indigenous languages

When British settlers colonized Australia in 1788 there were over 700,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Australia. They represented around 500 tribes and over 250 individual languages spoken, each with their own oral histories, culture, and belief systems. Today, only around 120 are still spoken and the majority are critically endangered. Indigenous languages Djambarrpuyngu, Pitjantjatjara, and Walpiri are among the those with the largest number of speakers, although, none of them have more than 5,000 speakers each. According to results of the National Indigenous Languages Survey only 13 Indigenous languages are still actively passed on to children. However, some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are actively relearning the languages of their ancestors and use of Indigenous languages remains relatively strong in remote areas.

Total grants and initiative funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts from the Australia Council for the Arts in Australia from financial years 2017 to 2019

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Release date

November 2019



Survey time period

financial year 2017 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Australia's financial year runs from July 1 to June 30; for example, financial year 2017 starts on July 1, 2016 and ends on June 30, 2017.

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Statistics on "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia "

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