Live Performance Australia has published its assessment of the arts and cultural policies of the major political parties contesting this year’s federal election. LPA Report Card
“While this election campaign has lacked significant leadership positions in relation to Australian culture, clear differences have emerged between Labor and the Coalition in their approach to supporting Australia’s cultural industries,” said Evelyn Richardson, LPA Chief Executive.
“Our creative sector not only enables cultural expression and reflects who we are as a nation, it is also a driver of jobs and economic opportunity.
“The industry’s contribution to Australia’s economic and social well-being should be at the front and centre of our policy debates and discussions. The opportunity to generate a substantive national narrative that mobilises our cultural industries as valuable assets has never been more urgent.
“In recent years, we have seen that the cultural sector becomes a key issue for debate only when ad hoc decision making or major funding cuts have forced it into ‘crisis mode’. The industry and its creatives deserve considered policy and strategies to set them up for sustainable growth and success.
“We need to significantly raise the ambition for cultural policy, and provide creative Australians with the policy and funding certainty to help them flourish at home and internationally,” Ms Richardson said.
“Too much time and effort has been spent in recent years trying to repair the damage from the Coalition’s cuts to funding and the Catalyst experiment, which has detracted from a stronger focus on building a confident and creative Australia,” Ms Richardson said.
Ms Richardson said Labor’s policy ‘Renewing Creative Australia’ was a welcome step in this direction delivering more funding certainty for the Australia Council; support for First Nations dance, theatre and music; arts infrastructure investment in training institutions and venues; the Soundtrack Australia music package; funding support for the ABC; plus a commitment to convene a Creative Economy Summit to inform development of a Creative Economy Strategy 2030.
By contrast, the Coalition has not put forward a comprehensive cultural policy, although it has announced welcome support for Australian live music.
The Greens ‘A Creative Australia’ committed to restoring Australia Council funding and outlined five areas for support including establishing a Creativity Commission; Content Creator Fund; artistic partnership program; and Games Investment and Enterprise Fund.
“Post-election, there is the opportunity for a bolder, robust and clear vision for our cultural industries that reflects their size and importance in terms of jobs and economic activity, along with their significant contribution to cultural expression and identity, something not yet taken full advantage of in the current policies,” Ms Richardson said.
“In particular, there is scope to do much more in the area of incentives for content creation and production that will attract and stimulate investment in the sector.
“We look forward to working more closely with the incoming government on setting out a meaningful and long-term plan to support the growth of our cultural industries for the benefit of all Australians,” Ms Richardson said.