Massive budget blowouts of $1.3 million at the Art Gallery and $410,000 at the South Australian Museum have been confirmed by Department of Premier and Cabinet executives.
Evidence to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee from Arts & Cultural Affairs Executive Director Alex Reid confirmed $1.7 million was provided to the institutions last month to meet “budget shortfalls”.
Ms Reid also confirmed a consultant had been paid $33,000 to prepare financial viability reports for the Art Gallery, Museum, State Library and History Trust.
Ms Reid assured the Committee the consultant had not raised concerns about the Museum using funds recovered from donations being used to fund budget shortfalls.
However, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said Ms Reid could not give the same assurance in relation to the Library, Art Gallery and History Trust.
“Minister for Arts John Hill needs to give a public assurance that the consultant has raised no concerns about this important issue,” Mr Lucas said.
“Ms Reid also took on notice a question relating to whether there had been a budget shortfall of between $300,000 and $400,000 on the staging of the Saatchi Exhibition by the Art Gallery last year.
“Minister Hill needs to confirm whether any additional funds were provided in late 2011 to the Art Gallery for this budget blowout in addition to the $1.3 million provided in June this year.”
In other evidence Ms Reid confirmed:
total taxpayer funding of $1.4 million for the Saatchi Exhibition
total taxpayer funding of $2 million for the upcoming Turner Exhibition
total taxpayer (Federal/State) subsidy of $117 per seat sold for the State Opera
$250,000 was provided to the Museum for “master planning of the cultural campus development‟.