The Federation of Australian Historical Societies Council is profoundly disappointed to inform the 100,000 members and 1000 community/volunteer historical and heritage societies and museums across Australia whom we represent, that after at least thirty years the Commonwealth government will no longer support the FAHS or other forms of voluntary community heritage. In the current round of budget talks neither the Minister nor the department is willing to find ways to support our sector.
The implications for FAHS are disastrous. We are already trimming staff hours and are abandoning some of the projects that we had planned for 2018. While we are determined that FAHS will live and work on, we are not sure what functions of the FAHS can be saved. Unless there is a change of heart or an alternative source of funding can be found, the organisation will be severely diminished and most functions closed.
We will be winding down our publications and training guides, and our future capacity to participate in the GLAMPeak project to assist the digitisation of historical societies’ collections is now in jeopardy. FAHS will be greatly limited in its ability to represent and support community volunteers and societies in their invaluable work of collecting, preserving, researching and publicising our history and heritage, and in their contributions to education and tourism.
The work of the FAHS has been recognised for more than thirty years with small operational grants from the Commonwealth government. In recent years it has been $80,000 p.a., which is miniscule as a proportion of federal government spending. Nevertheless, this support is being discontinued.
The FAHS represents its constituent members (RHSV, RAHS, RHSQ, History SA, HSNT, RWAHS, CDHS and THRA) at a federal level as well as developing resources, projects and responses to issues that are common to all historical groups across Australia.
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