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The National Framework for Governments' Support of the Major Performing Arts Sector (the MPA Framework) has been in operation for almost two decades and reflects joint commitment by the Australian Government and state governments to the arts sector. The funding ratios (initially based on company’s categorisation) have largely remained unchanged and have not been altered since they were originally established in 1999. 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 2021.

The MPA sector consists of independent companies in the fields of dance, theatre, circus, opera, orchestral and chamber music, each with individual artistic programs, audiences and service charters.

Arts and Cultural Ministers on 22 September 2017 tasked officials with identifying opportunities to strengthen the MPA Framework.

In August 2018, The Federal Arts Department published a survey to seek input about the MPA Framework. Responding to the outcomes of public consultation which included 8,026 survey responses, 370 formal submissions and 15 forums across the country, Arts and Cultural Ministers agreed to replace the MPA Framework with the new National Performing Arts Partnership Framework. 

The new Framework retains the most effective elements of the MPA Framework, while providing a clearer pathway to expand the cohort of funded companies, a new process to reward excellence and improve contestability and public reporting requirements to increase transparency. The new Framework is available on the Australia Council’s website