New era for arts in Australia

Dept of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

The Albanese Labor Government will consult with artists and creators across Australia as we develop a new National Cultural Policy that will bring drive, direction and vision back to the arts industry.

Labor has a proud history of support for the arts. We established Creative Nation under Paul Keating and Michael Lee and Creative Australia under Julia Gillard and Simon Crean.

The previous Liberal and National government immediately tore up Creative Australia when it won office – leading to a decade of policy drift and neglect. Without a comprehensive overarching cultural policy to guide and coordinate action the sector was picked apart by constant Coalition funding cuts.

Creative Australia will now be used as the starting point for an updated National Cultural Policy that I intend to deliver before the end of the year.

The official consultation process begins today with the launch of a new website where any Australian with an interest in arts, entertainment and culture can make a written submission: www.arts.gov.au/culturalpolicy.

The government will also host a series of town hall meetings in every state and territory – starting in Hobart on Wednesday, July 6 – so we can hear directly from artists in every corner of Australia about what they need.

A National Cultural Policy is a broad, comprehensive roadmap for Australia’s arts and culture that touches all areas of government, from cultural diplomacy in foreign affairs to health and education.

The policy will be based around five pillars:

  • First Nations first: recognising and respecting the crucial place of these stories at the centre of our arts and culture.
  • A place for every story: reflecting the diversity of our stories and the contribution of all Australians as the creators of culture.
  • The centrality of the artist: supporting the artist as worker and celebrating their role as the creators of culture.
  • Strong institutions: providing support across the spectrum of institutions – funded, philanthropic and commercial – which sustain our arts and culture.
  • Reaching the audience: ensuring our stories reach the people at home and abroad.

The cultural policy will also examine questions such as: how do we revive cooperation between federal, state and territory governments; how do we promote Australian creators in streaming platforms; how do we protect performers and audiences from ticket scalpers; and how do we deliver a national insurance scheme for live events.

From creating secure employment opportunities to showcasing unique Australian stories across all artforms, the new policy will reflect the intrinsic value of arts, entertainment and culture to Australia and the diversity of the Australian community.

While we want to get this right speed is of the essence.

The arts sector is currently in an extreme state of flux as it seeks to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic – and it needs a Government to help it build back better.

The arts, entertainment and cultural sector is important to who we are as Australians and plays a vital role in the economy.

There is a lot of work to do in this space to rebuild the damage done by a decade of Liberal Government. A new National Cultural Policy is the foundation for a better future for Australian artists.

Submissions for National Cultural Policy will close on August 22.

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