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THE cost to tax payers from Eveleigh Arts facility Carriageworks continues to rise while local arts institutions struggle for basic funding reports Robert Burton-Bradley in the Central of 12 March 2008.

In addition in to its operating budget of $2.72 million for its first year, Carriageworks received an extra $1 million from Arts NSW and $1.72 million from State Rail.

A $64,000 bill for outsourced marketing was also paid by Art NSW.

To date Carriageworks has cost taxpayers $54.5 million, including the purchase of the site by Arts NSW and its fit out.

This is more the double the $26 million the State Government plans to spend this year on cultural grants to arts organisations.

The extra payments to Carriageworks were revealed in the 2006-2007 Arts NSW annual report, which stated a payment of $1 million was made by Arts NSW to Carriageworks due to "delays by the Redfern-Waterloo Authority on commercial development and income".

StateRail said the sum it paid to Carriageworks was interest earned on "funds placed by the Arts NSW in a security deposit managed by StateRail to cover the costs of the Carriageworks projects".

While Carriageworks has had major funding injections since opening its doors in January last year, other local arts organisations who applied for grants from Arts NSW have endured delays of up to eight months for approval, leaving some unable to pay staff or confirm future projects.

Darlinghurst Theatre Company producer Marlaina Darmody was shocked at the funding received by Carriageworks and said her theatre had still not received funding from Arts NSW applied for last year.

"We are pretty tight at the moment," she said. Newtown's New Theatre, which was not an applicant for Arts NSW funding, was unable to raise enough money for fire and safety upgrades, forcing it to borrow $50,000.

"We are a non-professional company and don't fall into the brief for funding criteria," said administrator Luke Rogers.

"There should be room for community-based organisations within the arts where there is a proven track record like ours.

Picture: Phil Rogers - Carriageworks arts centre in Eveleigh has so far cost taxpayers $54.5 million.

"Source: Central of 12 March 2008