NAISDA Welcomes Funding to Address Equity Gap for First Nations Students and Enhance Arts Education


NAISDA embraces the Federal Government’s budget uplift announcement as part of a commitment towards the eight national arts training organisations, commonly known as the Arts8. It follows a 2023 Sustainability Review of all Arts8 organisations commissioned independently by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts. The announcement, which includes a $13m operational funding uplift for NAISDA over four years, addresses a history of significant underfunding in the arts training sector. As the only First Nations member of the Arts8, the uplift strengthens NAISDA’s mission to provide equitable access to creative and cultural arts education, and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across Australia to pursue careers in the national creative economy. NAISDA Chairperson and proud Wiradjuri woman, Mayrah Sonter expressed gratitude for the funding. “We extend our sincere thanks to the Minister for the Arts, the Hon Tony Burke MP, and the Office for the Arts for their support in recognising NAISDA’s pivotal role as a unique, world-first First Nations dance and creative arts education and training organisation,” Ms. Sonter said. “We are dedicated to empowering our young people, enabling early pathways to a world of creative opportunities and disciplines, while also fostering lifelong learning.” The commitment of sustainable funding will maintain and develop organisational capacity across student places, curriculum offerings and support programs. It further strengthens NAISDA’s position as a leader in arts education for First Nations Australians. The College’s unique learning model, informed by cultural connection and practice, delivers nationally recognised qualifications, and a First Nations student completion rate significantly higher than other accredited tertiary programs within Vocational Education and Training. The funding investment aligns with the objectives of Revive, the Government’s five-year National Cultural Policy by acknowledging the longstanding challenges facing First Nations creative and cultural sectors, including under-representation and professional skills shortages. “NAISDA provides a transformative education approach, which fosters creative excellence, cultural connection and self-determination. This uplift means we can increase capacity and be future focussed and responsive to what the sector and our communities need.” “We all want to see foundations in place where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are strong in self, culture and supported in their aspirations to realise their incredible potential,” concluded Ms Sonter.

About us:

NAISDA, a unique First Nations-led and governed organisation operating as a company limited by guarantee, receives lead funding from the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts with support funding from NSW Department of Education (Smart and Skilled) and across various government levels, private and corporate supporters, and from Registered Training Organisation (RTO) initiatives. This enables us to function as a self-sustaining entity, continuously evolving and adapting to serve the needs of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

As a unique world-first dance and creative arts education and training organisation, NAISDA empowers First Nations people to fulfill their personal and career ambitions through lifelong learning, skills development and connection to culture. Our distinctive learning model is the only one of its kind, uniquely connected to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands, culture and people. It delivers Certificate III to Advanced Diploma qualifications which embed the depth, diversity and complexity of Indigenous Knowings within a western framework of arts education excellence, nurturing individuals and communities, and continuing the Songlines of our ancestors.

NAISDA creates space and opportunity to learn, exchange, express and engage with culture, guided by the core values of empowerment, agency and self-determination.

/Public Release.