Wednesday, 27 May 2020 10:27

Covid funding: Western Sydney arts misses out again

Woman enjoying an art exhibition at the Casula Powerhouse run by Liverpool City Council Woman enjoying an art exhibition at the Casula Powerhouse run by Liverpool City Council WSROC

Media release, 27 May 2020


The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has welcomed the NSW Government’s $50 million funding package to support arts organisations but is concerned that many Western Sydney venues aren’t eligible.

WSROC President Clr Barry Calvert said “It is great to see our state government deliver a package to support arts and cultural organisations, however it is unlikely the benefits will be evenly distributed.

“Most arts and cultural venues in Western Sydney and regional NSW are run or funded by local governments who are not eligible for funding.  As a result, the benefits will be concentrated in area’s closer to the Sydney CBD,” he said.

“This will have significant impacts not only for staff, but on the number of Western Sydney arts and cultural activities available to residents post-Covid. It will further widen the cultural divide in our city, one that is already profound[1].

“Failure to support council-run venues will also have an impact on Western Sydney artists and performers who depend on these facilities to practice and perform their work,” said Clr Calvert.

“In a short space of time, Western Sydney will be home to the largest proportion of Greater Sydney tax-payers. Yet arts funding per capita continues to be seriously disproportionate.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first Covid-19 support package to miss the mark. Already we have seen local government excluded from the federal Job Keeper scheme,” said Clr Calvert.

“The recently announced $395 million local government stimulus package made available by the NSW Government was welcome, but eligibility thresholds are such that many councils will not qualify.

“Like most businesses, councils are suffering greatly from lost revenue, yet we are doing more than ever to support the community through this pandemic via rates concessions, waiving fees and charges and running support programs for local businesses, increasing support and outreach to vulnerable communities, supporting the volunteer and community sector, and moving services online to ensure continuity for residents.

“When disaster strikes, local government is at the coalface supporting communities, but it is clear that the state and federal governments don’t understand the critical role councils and their facilities play,” said Clr Calvert.


Council-run arts and cultural institutions in Western Sydney:




*This release refers to council-run and funded venues only. WSROC does not imply that independent, not-for-profit Western Sydney arts organisations won’t benefit from the NSW Government funding.

**The above is not a comprehensive list of council-run venues.


Media contacts: Kate O’Connell and Kelly Gee, 02 9671 4333, 0425 871 868 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


[1] Deloitte. (2015). Building Western Sydney's Cultural Arts Economy. Retrieved from:

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 May 2020 10:32

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