The launch on Monday 30th January of the Government’s National Cultural Policy had a great sense of expectation. Despite working to an ambitious timeframe to complete the task of presenting a policy in a 6 month process (it actually took 7 months) the sector was very much awaiting the outcome. For all of us packed into the iconic music venue the Espy in St Kilda for the launch, the policy as presented by both the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Arts Minister Tony Burke, did not disappoint. Its name, Revive, says a lot about their intentions to take a sector that was neglected and under-valued by the previous government, and recalibrate the approach to respond to current issues and re-think the priorities. There was a buzz across the room after the formalities had concluded and a sense of optimism.
The Australia Council, now to be known as Creative Australia, were big winners, with the cutting funds under George Brandis and later Mitch Fifield, now completely restored and a number of new initiatives in place. The pillar of First Nations First will be serviced by a new body, contemporary music will no longer be marginalised within arts funding through a new body Music Australia, and writing will regain its place through a new writing body as well as a poet laureate to be introduced for Australia. This is a policy that responds to the issues of our time, including workplace issues and abuse, taking creative careers seriously and breaking down the false dichotomy of subsidised arts and creative industries, all spread across the five pillars of the policy that were identified early in the process.
For those of us there from Regional Arts, we were definitely not disappointed, with a commitment to double the Regional Arts Funds. In NSW we have experienced high levels of unmet demand in RAF for many years, but we will now need to look at the best way to roll out these increased funds. Exciting times!
Dr Tracey Callinan
Regional Arts NSW
To read more about the Cultural Policy Update click here