Australia's wider arts community has welcomed the national government's new budget, which contains a handful of measures intended to reap financial benefits for the creative sector.

Artist managers, specifically, have greeted the government's decision to allocate A$1.7 million ($1.58 million) over four years to amend immigration regulations that compel concert promoters to have at least one Australian support act on the bill during an international act's local tour.

"It gives a young act the opportunity to perform in front of potentially a couple of hundred thousand people nationally -- which normally it may not have reached," says Ralph Carr, whose Melbourne-based Ralph Carr Management oversees hit-makers including singers Kate Ceberano, Vanessa Amorosi and Carl Risley.

Carr says that by playing with Kiss in March, Amorosi "got an incredible reaction from the 200,000 audience, which translated into sales and additional support with radio and media. It also helped solidify Vanessa as an incredible live act. As a result, Kiss management offered her the European leg of the tour as well."

Similarly in 2003, Bob Dylan was so impressed with folk trio the Waifs he invited them to play with him in the U.S. And the Rolling Stones took rock band Jet on their 2007 European tour after first playing together in Australia.

Tuesday's budget presentation was the first announced by Kevin Rudd's new Labor Party government, which came into office late last year with former Midnight Oil singer Peter Garrett in the role as arts minister.

Despite lobbying from trade associations such as the Music Managers Forum, the budget did not address a number of key issues, including tax rebates -- intended to increase private and corporate investment in acts and businesses -- and tax breaks for musicians on welfare.

The budget provided A$2.4 million ($2.2 million) over the four years for the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (AMRAP), whose mail-out service enables independent labels and acts to get their CDs to college radio stations. Since its set-up in 2001, it has distributed 80,000 CDs. AMRAP's funding was cut in 2005 by John Howard's previous Liberal regime.

The Australia Council's chief executive Kathy Keele says the budget has "some very significant wins for the arts". She cites two initiatives worth A$11.8 million ($11.03 million) over four years which the Council will administer, to include an artist-in-residence program in schools and colleges, and to encourage arts companies to provide musicians and artists with showcase opportunities.

Arts executives point out that the government failed to address more arts teaching in schools, and money for regional arts was cut by A$4.3 million ($4 million) to A$11.8 million ($11.03 million) over the next four years. But they say they were always expecting the government's second budget to show off its election promises in its commitment to the arts. "It's next year where we expect the government to have settled in and provide its commitment to this nation's creativeness," says Helen O'Neil, Sydney-based executive director of the Australian Major Performing Arts Group.