MPA Framework

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The National Framework for Governments' Support of the Major Performing Arts Sector (the MPA Framework) has been in operation for over two decades and reflects joint commitment by the Australian Government and state governments to the arts sector. The MPA Framework was last amended in 2011 following its third triennial review in 2008-09.

The MPA Framework is administered by the Australia Council for the Arts (Australia Council) on behalf of participating governments. The MPA Panel advises the Australia Council on MPA company and sector issues, assisting it to implement the MPA Framework and monitor the performance of the MPA companies. The current service level agreements under the Framework end on 31 December 2018.

The MPA sector consists of 28 independent companies in the fields of dance, theatre, circus, opera, orchestral and chamber music, each with individual artistic programs, audiences and service charters. MPA companies are not subject to a competitive process through peer review for their base funding. However, they remain highly accountable for the significant public funding they receive and must continue to meet the definition of an MPA company, and must meet KPIs in their service level agreement.

Details of the funding distributed through the MPA Framework in 2017 by state is in the table below.

Table 1: 2017 MPA Funding, State Funding Breakdown

MPA Framework Table 1

*Opera Australia’s State funding contribution is shared between Create NSW ($3,434,000) and Creative Victoria ($1,001,000).

**The Australian Ballet’s State funding contribution is shared between Create NSW ($692,000) and Creative Victoria ($652,000).


Looking at the funding by artform, Western Australia receives significantly less in Federal funding than other states through the MPA framework for dance, theatre, opera and music. For example, within the artform of dance the Western Australian Government contributes about 80 percent ($ 3,034,000) of the MPA Framework funding to the WA dance companies. It is only for orchestras that it receives funding at a broadly similar funding ratio to other states.

Table 2: 2017 MPA Funding, Artform and State Breakdown

MPA Framework Table 2

In addition to the imbalance in Federal funding provided through the MPA Framework for a number of art forms, this imbalance is not redressed through funding for the WA small to medium sector and individual Western Australian artists.

Table 3: Overview Australian Government Funding for WA provides information for the total Federal funding for the arts distributed to Western Australia.

MPA Framework Table 3