Friday, 14 May 2021

The 2021 Federal Budget and yet another financial hit for the National Film and Sound Archive

A Canberra Observer writes: I took the plunge and had a look at the portfolio statement for  the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. My conclusion? I can’t see how anyone, even the Minister, can claim that NFSA is getting an increase in funds. 

Here’s what I found:


The ordinary appropriation is down from $26.5m to $25.0m in round figures.


Other payments from the Department go from $2.9m to 1m. I believe that is to do with the $5m announced for digitisations. I seem to recall that was to be over 3 years: $3m in the first year to buy more equipment, then $1m for the next 2 years. 


With other odds and ends, to total income (net resourcing) reduces from $33.4m to $30.7m


Incidentally that includes revenue of $741,000 from sale of goods and services, a figure that is totally unchanged  from the previous year and usually means they haven’t a clue if it will go up or down. 


I believe the government still applies an efficiency dividend of 2%, which isn’t shown in the statement at this level, but assumes, for a starting point, that the NFSA can do exactly the same as the previous year but spending less money. Not sure if there is an inflation allowance, but the efficiency dividend has been going on for over 25 years.  My maths says that if you slice 2% off $1m every year, then after 25 years you are expected to do the same work for $600,000. 


Here is a link to the actual breakdown. Head for Table 1.1 on page 330 for the unvarnished version.

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