A campaign to develop creative and cultural industries will be unveiled by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen when he delivers his policy address on Wednesday. One of the objectives would be to increase audiences at arts events amid the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District, a senior government official said. 'Building audiences will be the focus,' the official said, adding that the government greatly valued the community's participation. As for whether more resources would be devoted to arts and culture, amid fears of cuts in public funding, the official said it was too early to confirm, as the allocation of money would not be decided until later. The official was nevertheless optimistic about the funding situation for arts groups because of the importance of the West Kowloon Cultural District. Recently, the city's nine major performing arts groups said they had been told by their funding body, the Home Affairs Bureau, that they should base their plans for the next financial year on the 2007-08 budget levels. This would mean a funding cut of 10 to 50 per cent. Last month, the groups wrote to Tsang questioning the plan to slash funding. An experimental theatre group said it would have to sack employees if this happened and conduct fewer lessons in schools. Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Carrie Yau Tsang Ka-lai said HK$200 million a year of public money was spent on the nine arts groups, and the bureau had been fighting for more. She said that in 2007 the bureau won more than HK$40 million extra for the arts groups, to be spread over the 2008-09 and 2009-10 financial years. But for 2010-11, the bureau would have to bid for money with other bureaus following the normal mechanism. 'And whether we can get the same amount is subject to how much money is left in the centre for distribution,' and competition with other bureaus, Yau said. 'With no new money, then you have to back to the '07-08 level, and that is guaranteed money.' Yau did not confirm whether the funding level could be maintained for the next financial year, but she dismissed earlier reports that money would be diverted to the cultural district. 'This is definitely wrong,' she said. 'West Kowloon Cultural District already has the money.' Yau said that with the sixth Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum (ACCF) closing tomorrow, the government should strengthen cultural relations with other countries, and expand such links from a regional to a global level. 'The ACCF already has a solid foundation, and I agree that now is the time to think big,' Yau said. 'We have to set our eyes on potential partners such as Eastern European countries like Hungary and Romania, which we have just started to do.'