Creative Australia established under federal cultural policy revamp
The federal government has announced four new federal bodies and a focus on First Nations in its new, wide-ranging, five-year cultural policy.
Under the Revive strategy, the Australia Council of the Arts was renamed Creative Australia. Creative Australia will now be the government’s main arts investment and advisory body.
Its governing body will continue as the Australian Council.
Creative Australia will receive $286 million over four years to help with its establishment, and an additional $200 million over four years to modernize the Australia Council.
A spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts told The Mandarin the foundation funding includes money for new programs and grants, partnerships, policy development and staff.
Four new federal bodies have also been established within Creative Australia.
Two bodies will support specific areas in the creative industries: Music Australia for the music industry, and Writers Australia for writers and illustrators.
Arts Minister Tony Burke added the pair would operate in a “strategic way in a commercial world”.
Included in Writers Australia’s remit will be the establishment of a national poet laureate and the selection of the winners of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.
Another new body will target harassment and discrimination in the creative sector, called the Center for Arts and Entertainment Workplaces.
The fourth body will be a body yet to be designated by First Nations to support First Nations people in creative industries.
“Further planning to establish these four bodies will be undertaken in the first half of 2023 to work through and finalize details for the new bodies before they come into force,” said a departmental spokesperson.
Speaking at the launch of the policy, Burke said the bodies would be “highly autonomous”.
“What all this adds up to is a strategic shift,” the minister said.
“We are giving Creative Australia the resources the Australia Council has been deprived of and also providing new structures to deliver First Nations autonomy for First Nations work, protection for artists, the ability to provide strategic direction to contemporary music and writers and one organization that will now interact with the entire sector.
“Funding, philanthropic and commercial – all together in Creative Australia.”
Australia Council chief executive Adrian Collette said the new policy recognized the “real value of the arts and creative industries”.
“As we transform to become Creative Australia, we will forge even stronger links with the public, private and commercial sectors,” Colette said in a statement.
“This will enable us to connect Australian stories with audiences and build the market for those stories to be shared on a national and international scale, enhancing our reputation and bringing our rich culture to the world.”
Colette was a member of the Natural Cultural Policy Advisory Group that provided advice to Burke.
The minister added that every three years there will be a report on the state of culture, similar to the report on the state of the environment.
An Australian content quota for international streaming companies (think Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+) will be introduced, similar to obligations already in place for television content.
Funding was increased to the Regional Arts Fund of $8.5 million while $5 million was allocated to an Arts and Disability Associated Plan.
Further inclusions in the Revive strategy targeting First Nations people include:
$13.4 million for legislation aimed at reducing First Nations’ “fake art” $11 million for a First Nations Tale Policy Partnership between governments and First Nations representatives.
The media and entertainment trade union, Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), welcomed the new arts policy.
MEAA federal president Simon Collins said the policy was the most comprehensive creative policy from the federal government in more than a decade.
“Of course, one policy does not erase the neglect of the sector over a long period of time. And the success of this policy will depend on how it is implemented, including how arts funding is allocated in the future,” Collins said in a statement.
“But this is an important milestone in providing confidence to artists that they are valued and respected by government and the community, and MEAA is keen to play a constructive role in delivering on the promise of this policy.”
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