Arts Infrastructure

The Australia Council strengthens the arts ecology through the support and strategic development of regularly funded organisations. 

We do this by:

  • Managing funding relationships with multi-year funded organisations including 28 major performing arts companies to achieve the highest level of artistic practice and sustainability
  • Supporting arts organisations to lead in innovation, collaboration and development of original work
  • Supporting organisations to reflect on their artistic and cultural vibrancy
  • Offering a range of sector upskilling programs to build the capabilities of arts organisations and arts leaders
  • Strengthening sector knowledge, planning and forecasting through evidence based evaluation and data analysis.

Major Performing Arts Companies


Australia’s MPA sector comprises 28 leading performing arts companies in the fields of dance, theatre, circus, opera, and orchestral and chamber music. The MPA companies play a vital role in the development of artists and audiences, as well as being a large employer of artists and arts professionals in Australia. 

Under the National Framework for Governments’ Support of the Major Performing Arts Sector (the MPA Framework), the Australia Council administers funding to the 28 MPA companies on behalf of the Australian Government and state governments, at levels they set and agree to. The MPA companies receive funding to develop and present excellent artistic works and foster a vibrant and sustainable performing arts sector.

The MPA Framework is Australian Government policy and the Australia Council has responsibility for supporting and managing the Framework on the Government’s behalf. The Australia Council’s appropriation includes the Australian Government’s directed funding through the MPA Framework.

The Australia Council plays an important leadership role in the management of the Framework, providing specialist services , strategic advice and support, and working closely with the state arts agencies. The Council closely monitors each MPA company against its agreed outcomes and performance indicators, which are reviewed annually with all government partners and input from the MPA Panel. The Board of the Australia Council established the MPA Panel to assist with overseeing the MPA framework and to provide advice on specific company and sector issues. The Australia Council considers the MPA results in a broader context of support to other areas of the arts sector nationally. This overview and strategic understanding is critical to the health of each area of arts practice in Australia.


At the meeting of the then Cultural Ministers Council (CMC) in August 2000, Arts and Cultural Ministers agreed on the recommendations made in the Major Performing Arts Inquiry Final Report: Securing the Future. This included a commitment to maintaining a shared funding model through the MPA Policy, which was implemented in 2001. In August 2011 at the Meeting of Cultural Ministers (MCM), a revised MPA Framework was endorsed, with implementation occurring in 2012. The revised framework was entitled the National Framework for Governments’ Support of the Major Performing Arts Sector (the MPA Framework), under which the Australia Council administers annual core funding to 28 MPA companies on behalf of the Australian Government and state governments, at levels agreed to between federal and state arts ministers through the Meeting of Cultural Ministers forum.

The National Framework for Governments' support of the Major Performing Arts Sector, and relevant criteria, can be found here.

Statistical Reporting Templates

Arts Organisations can use the templates provided here to enter the statistical data on Performances, School Programs, Workshops and Exhibitions. You can then upload the CSV file in the corresponding sections of the online Statistical Data report. Click here to go to the online reporting system.

Please follow the instruction in each template file to enter data and generate the CSV file.

Available templates:

Workshops Data Upload Template (1.7 MB excel file)

Schools Data Upload Template (1.7 MB excel file)

Performances Data Upload Template (1.9 MB excel file)

Exhibitions Data Upload Template (1.6 MB excel file)

Template use for Mac users:

  1. Click on the desired template. Please note that the file will be downloaded as a text file
  2. Right click and save the link on your desktop to find easily or locate the downloaded file
  3. Right click the file, hover the pointer over ‘Open With’, select ‘Other’
  4. In the new dialogue box, left hand option select ‘Applications’
  5. Locate and select ‘Microsoft Office’
  6. Towards the bottom of the dialogue box, ‘Enable: All applications’
  7. Select Microsoft Excel
  8. Hit the open button.

Useful Links

Artistic Vibrancy

Artistic Vibrancy

The Artistic Vibrancy framework is a way for organisations to talk about their artistic impact in an holistic manner.

MPA Collaborative Arts Projects

MPA Collaborative Arts Projects

The program is intended to support and encourage a range of activities that foster meaningful long term positive outcomes for collaborative partners and focus communities, with particular emphasis on the six priority areas set out in the Australia Council’s Cultural Engagement Framework.

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