(IMAGE: AAP/DAN HIMBRECHTS)

The Cultural Ministers Council (CMC) -- the top-level national cultural body -- normally does very little in the policy sphere. But, that wasn't the case this month. After long deliberations, the CMC released a new plan for Australia’s leading performing arts companies -- the so-called “majors”.

Those who follow Australian cultural policy will know the esteemed status of the majors is a perennial sore point for much of the arts sector. For decades, funding for this exclusive club was automatic and perpetual, membership was by invitation only, and no one was ever asked to leave (even when they went broke, as the Sydney Dance Company did in 2007).