Creative Australia — The National Cultural Policy
I’m very proud to release Creative Australia—a national cultural policy for the decade.
Creative Australia is about creating excellence, creating jobs, creating prosperity, creating opportunity and creating unique Australian stories—all vital to an outward looking, competitive and confident nation.
Culture is expressed in many ways—through our stories, the way we live, speak, conduct public life, relate to others, celebrate, remember the past, entertain ourselves and imagine the future. Our creative expression gives voice to us as individuals, challenges perceptions and helps us see the world through the eyes of others.
There’s a social dividend in investing in the cultural sectors with the return in strengthening our underlying values of inclusiveness, openness and democratic practice.
Our culture defines us and we’re unique in the richness of our Australian identity. Not only is Australia home to one of the oldest living cultures on earth, it is a welcoming to the greatest diversity of cultures on earth.
There’s another benefit to the nation from investing in the arts and artists to build a rich cultural life: the economic dividend. A creative nation is a productive nation.
Throughout the 21st century, national creative capacity will continue to be central in driving Australia’s productive capability. We must build on the strength and excellence of our artistic and cultural heritage and recognise that creative talent and design thinking need to be at the heart of our innovation, technological development and national economic growth.
The Australian Government has identified a number of areas which are key to increasing jobs, prosperity and productivity as the peak of the investment and resources boom of the early 21st century passes. These are: increasing skills, building a national culture of innovation, investing in infrastructure such as the National Broadband Network, improving regulation and leveraging our proximity to, and knowledge of, a rising Asia into a competitive advantage.
When you think of these key areas, cultural industries and creative arts skills are central to all. Australia must be a creative nation that spurs innovation, creates jobs for the remainder of the 21st century and shapes a future of prosperity and shared opportunity.
A creative Australia will celebrate its artists and recognise the excellence of our cultural wealth. A creative Australia is a crucial aspect of closing the gap so the richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures can be preserved and shared. A creative Australia will make a difference to the diversity and competitiveness of our economy. A creative Australia will promote entrepreneurship, ensure strong links between engineering and design and launch new creative services based on artistic talent.
I’ve long held a passion for the arts. It’s not just the enjoyment they bring, I see the artist as central to us as a nation and to securing its future.
Creative Australia has the arts, creative skills and talent at the heart of our Australian life.
Minister for the Arts
Culture is created by us and defines us. It is the embodiment of the distinctive values, traditions and beliefs that make being Australian in the 21st century unique—democratic, diverse, adaptive and grounded in one of the world’s oldest living civilisations.
Australian culture has a firm base in heritage and tradition. It is also dynamic, evolving in response to a changing world and the increasing diversity, in all forms, of those who call this country home.
Culture is expressed in many ways—through the way we live, speak, conduct public life, relate to others, celebrate, remember the past, entertain ourselves and imagine the future. In sum, this captures the Australian spirit—a distinctive way of being that others recognise. Australian identity has a common core, but is not singular. Rather it is like a constellation, greater than the sum of its parts.
Culture is more than the arts, but the arts play a unique and central role in its development and expression. Creative Australia addresses the central role of the arts, heritage and creative industries in cultural expression and includes the individuals, enterprises and organisations engaged. This policy aims to enhance their special and evolving place in Australian life.
Creative Australia also articulates the aspirations of artists, citizens and the community, and the paths to agreed goals. It responds strategically to the economic and social challenges that the next decade of the 21st century is likely to present.
Creative Australia is informed by the belief that a creative nation is a productive nation in the fullest sense of the word—empathic, respectful, imaginative, industrious, adaptive, open and successful.
Who we are 1.1
Never before has being Australian been so richly layered. We embrace and celebrate the indelible heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the legacy of British settlement, the excitement and trauma of establishing a new nationhood a century ago, the cacophony of a settler society, the determined assertion of independence and the growing confidence that comes from being at ease in the world.
The Australian story is uniquely grounded in around 60 000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ traditions and practices. The history and living culture of Australia’s nearly 548 370 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples inform the shape and texture of modern Australian life.[i]They also produce some of the most vibrant and distinctive contemporary arts—in writing, visual arts, music, dance, performance, screen production, fashion and design.
Even before it became a nation, Australia was a settler society. Since the First Fleet, people have come from the four corners of the earth to make their home here. Waves of migrants have added new layers and enriched established cultural, political and civic traditions. Since the middle of the last century, millions of people have arrived and added new music, language, food, cultural expectations, international links and new businesses to the Australian way of life. They brought, and continue to bring, stories of courage, hope, alienation, loss, discovery and success to shape a narrative for modern Australia. Their energy and generosity has profoundly changed this country, and broadened and deepened the cultural heritage we now share.
Australia’s identity is developing further from its base as the home for one of the world’s oldest living cultures, and continues to welcome a diversity of cultures from around the globe.
Every point in the development of our national identity has been given life and meaning through works of art, creativity and imagination. From ochre paintings on rock walls (still practiced today) that recorded life as it was, to the paintings and drawings of those who came from afar, to the authors who wrote stories, plays and poems that made sense of a place and its peoples, to the architects and builders who imagined and crafted buildings that suited the climate and materials, to the performers and musicians whose soaring skill have filled our memories with sounds and characters, to the contemporary artists who bring screens to life. It is these works that endure to capture the spirit of the time, provide a foundation for the future, display the genius of artists, ensure the pleasure of participation and give substance to identity.
Some of these creators endure, others flame briefly, some entertain, others provoke—but the quest to create never ends.
All civilizations strive to express uniqueness, make meaning and beauty through works of art, creativity and imagination. Government has a role to play in enabling the creation of cultural products and value, but culture is the community’s creation.
This snapshot of contemporary Australia reveals just how diverse this country has become. One-quarter of all Australians were born elsewhere, increasingly in non-European countries. The 2011 Census reported 300 ancestries, and that more than 300 different languages are spoken in Australian households. The most common languages spoken at home other than English are Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese and Greek. In New South Wales, the second most spoken language is Arabic and in Queensland, it is Chinese.[ii]
Australia remains comparatively youthful—the median age is 37 years. We are well-educated. In 2010, 85 per cent of people between the ages of 25 and 34 had finished school, and the proportion with at least upper secondary education qualifications was above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average.[iii] Just under one-in-five of the Australian population report a disability, and this number is set to rise as our population ages.[iv]
While we recognise a sense of shared national belonging, we are also firmly grounded in the places we live and the communities that thrive there. Each part of Australia has its own distinctive identity that reflects its geographic location, history and population—from the urban east coast to the remoteness of the Pilbara, the Northern Queensland tropics, the Central Desert and the Tasmanian wilderness.
In a country the scale of Australia, place, landscape and country play an important role in shaping cultural heritage and identity. The physical environment is integral to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and has always inspired Australian creativity. From tiny Erub Island in the Torres Strait to South East Cape in Tasmania, and from Byron Bay on the east coast to Shark Bay on the west, regional stories contribute powerfully to the tapestry of identity.
These characteristics have an importance that goes beyond our obligations to the United Nations Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, to ensure that citizens have opportunities to express their cultural identity. They highlight the need to ensure that Creative Australia fosters a sustainable environment in which all Australians can enjoy, draw inspiration from and co-create their culture. This opportunity for expression must encompass diversity in its widest possible form—including all people, no matter where they live, whatever their background or circumstances.
At best, the interplay of skills and opportunity enabled in a wealthy, democratic society creates cultural products that define us to ourselves and represent us to the world, are tangible and symbolic, profitable and accessible, makes us proud and happy, reflective and imaginative, and encourage us to be empathetic and ambitious.
[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics , Census of Population and Housing—Counts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (2075.0), 2011.
[ii] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census Media Release, 21 June 2012, CO/60.
[iii] OECD Country Note, Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2012, Australia.
[iv] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Disability, Australia (4446.0), 2009.
Never before has culture been taken so seriously by governments. This is not motivated simply by vanity or economics. There is increasing recognition that a strong, creative and inclusive culture strengthens our values and is an essential component to being in charge of our own destiny; that a creative nation is a productive nation.
All around the world, despite the lingering challenges of the global financial crisis and the unknowns of globalisation, technological transformation and climate change, governments are grappling with how best to support the distinctiveness of their societies at home and project it abroad. The desire to enable a constellation of cultures to co-exist productively and harmoniously, to use culture as a catalyst for creativity and innovation, and as a key component in international relations, is shared by most nations.
An international framework of ‘cultural domains’ was adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2009 and forms a useful and inclusive way to measure culture and benchmark Australian achievements over the life of this policy. The domains break down some of the misconceived barriers between contemporary and historical practices, arts and creative industries, professional and amateur, commercial and ‘non-profit’ activities.
The domains covered by Creative Australia include: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ arts, language and culture; cultural heritage; design; music; performance and celebration, including community cultural development; screen arts, broadcasting and interactive media; visual arts and crafts; writing and publishing.
Each domain, as UNESCO notes, is underpinned by: common areas of activity and creative practice including stories ‘transmitted from generation to generation’ and work ‘recreated in response to environment, interaction with nature and history, [which] provides a sense of identity and continuity’; education and training; materials that are archived and preserved; and work that is the result of collaboration between professional artists and communities.[i]
In each domain, creative art has an intrinsic value in its own right as works of genius, beauty and originality, an institutional value in terms of national identity, economic value as an industry, and instrumental value in education and social cohesion.
The conditions that characterise the beginning of the 21st century make this wide-ranging approach to the cultural sector, including its economic output, more important than ever.
Globalisation and technology have shrunk the world—the arts and creativity are a much more important part of daily life and work and a growing part of the economy. For a country like Australia this means that the twin impediments of distance and size are less daunting. We can now engage on a global stage without losing our roots, but there are new challenges.
[i] UNESCO (2003b). Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Paris: UNESCO (Art. 2).
In 1994, Australia’s first national cultural policy, Creative Nation, argued it was time for government to elevate culture on to the political agenda, to recognise its natural place in the expectations of all Australians, encourage a broader definition of the arts, and realise its importance in social and economic life.
This is still a work in progress, though much has changed.
The ‘exotic hybrid’ of Australian culture has continued to blossom and the assault from a ‘homogenised international mass culture’ has not overwhelmed us to the extent that was feared. Cultural rights have been recognised in international covenants, public and private support for the arts has diversified, the economic importance of cultural goods and services has increased, the need to include arts education in the Australian curriculum has been embraced and the importance of cultural diplomacy acknowledged.
The ‘cultural cringe’ still loomed in the 1990s, but today it is replaced by a globally engaged, confident assertion of Australian identity and creativity. In effect, the cultural cringe has been turned on its head—Australian artists are celebrated at home and are steadily achieving significant international success. Our artists are prominent on the world stage, coming and going and drawing on their heritage and training. They are no longer escaping ‘the Great Australian Emptiness’ to become professional expats—as was once the fate of many of our most gifted citizens. We have come a long way since Patrick White, the Australian Nobel Literature Laureate, bitterly described his homeland as one in which the ‘mind is the least of possessions’.
This is no longer the case, but there is still much to be accomplished.
The big vision of mainstreaming culture, making it central across the whole-of-government, remains. Full recognition of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage, and resourcing its contemporary cultural expressions, remains.
Other areas flagged by Creative Nation require new attention thanks to the opportunities of globalisation and technology. There is a need to ensure that all Australians have the opportunity to be involved with the arts as creators and audiences, to ensure individual artists, major institutions and small and medium enterprises have sufficient support to thrive, and to more fully recognise the extent to which cultural solutions may provide answers to intractable social problems.
There is also the need to more confidently advocate the value of the arts to national identity, to shaping and communicating Australian culture at home, and to promoting ‘brand Australia’ by trade and cultural diplomacy overseas.
Almost every Australian engages with arts and cultural activities—reading books, going to movies, visiting galleries and museums, listening to music and participating in a wide range of creative pursuits. Indeed, there is more direct involvement with the arts than there is with sport or religion, the other two great markers of culture.
There is a thirst for quality cultural experiences in Australia. In 2010, Australia Council research found that the number of Australians participating in visual arts and crafts, theatre, dance, literature and music reached 92 per cent; just under half of the population participated in creative activity.[i] That year, more than one-quarter of the population also visited an art gallery.
Nonetheless, the cultural, social and economic benefits derived from arts and creativity are still not fully recognised politically. This is partly because the activities and modus operandi of the cultural sector is not easy to harness, and its capacity to inspire, innovate and provoke can make those with power wary. It is also because of the lack of sufficiently strong, comprehensive and comparable data about the sector and the economic and public value it creates.
[i]Australia Council, More than bums on seats: Australian participation in the arts, 2010.
Culture is not created by government, but enabled by it. This works best when legal, policy and fiscal strategies create an environment that values cultural activities, fosters excellence and participation while supporting risk and exploration, recognises diversity in all its forms and encourages expression of a distinctive sensibility.
Australia’s federal system of government means successful pursuit of Creative Australia will depend on partnerships—across agencies, with state, territory and local governments, and with commercial and non-profit enterprises, educational institutions, artists, philanthropists and the community.
The Australian Government’s role in supporting culture is most visible in the major cultural organisations it funds. This includes national galleries and museums, collecting and training institutions, the Australia Council, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Screen Australia and the Special Broadcasting Service. These organisations are the principal stewards of Australian cultural heritage and its contemporary manifestations. They preserve and develop our heritage, make it publicly available and provide opportunities to interpret and create new cultural products and expressions.
Through the Australia Council, Screen Australia, public broadcasters and other commissioning agencies, the Government provides resources to enable the production of cultural products and increase capacity and expertise. Acquisitions by the National Collecting Institutions build historical and contemporary cultural resources. Like all other industries, those operating in the cultural economy receive direct and indirect public support.
Acknowledging the importance of strong partnerships between the arts, culture and private and commercial sectors to a strong, sustainable and competitive arts and cultural sector, the Australian Government continues to encourage private giving to the arts through taxation incentives, programs that harness philanthropic support and legal protections for copyright and intellectual property.
State and territory, as well as local governments, invest their own resources, and directly support the construction of cultural institutions, including galleries, museums, and performing arts venues. They also fund touring programs and festivals.
Other departments and agencies have an active role in encouraging and facilitating cultural expression to foster engagement and social inclusion. Programs and policies concerned with communications, infrastructure, regional development, citizenship, education and training, copyright, Indigenous affairs, disability, immigration, defence, foreign affairs and trade, and health recognise the value that arts and culture adds to our national life.
Over the next decade, the partnerships between different levels of government, of public and private organisations, and the social sector, are likely to become richer and deeper as the cultural sector becomes more entwined in all aspects of life and the economy.
Australian Government (2012–13)
Cultural institutions and agencies
- Screen Australia $93m
- Australia Council $179m
- Australian Business Arts Foundation $1.5m
- Australian Film, Television and Radio School $24.4m
- Australian National Maritime Museum $23.9m
- Bundanon Trust $1.6m
- National Archives of Australia $62.6m
- National Film and Sound Archive of Australia $26.9m
- National Gallery of Australia $46.4m
- National Library of Australia $59.6m
- National Museum of Australia $42.9m
- Museum of Australian Democracy $13.8m
Support for non-profit organisations providing professional artists’ training
- Australian Youth Orchestra $2m
- Australian Ballet School $1.3m
- The Australian National Academy of Music $3m
- Flying Fruit Fly Circus $0.2m
- National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association Dance College $1.4m
- National Institute of Circus Arts $2.1m
- National Institute of Dramatic Art $6.9m
Targeted programs, including:
- Cultural infrastructure (Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program, Regional Development Australia Fund, Community Infrastructure Grants Program, Better Regions, and the East Kimberley Development Package. Since 2007, the Australian Government has invested more than $300m in infrastructure funding for nearly 500 arts and cultural projects including libraries, heritage sites, museums and art spaces)
- Regional touring programs (Playing Australia $6.8m; Visions of Australia $2.3m; Contemporary Music Touring Program $0.4m)
- Regional and community arts (Festivals Australia $1.2m; Regional Arts Fund $3.1m)
- Indigenous arts, cultural languages and employment (Indigenous Culture Support $7.5m; Indigenous Languages Support $9.9m; Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support $5.4m; National Arts and Crafts Industry Support $2m; Business Skills for Indigenous Visual Artists $1m; Indigenous Visual Arts Industry $2.5m)
- Cultural heritage (Distributed National Collection $0.6m; National Cultural Heritage Account $0.5m)
- Visual arts (Visual Arts and Craft Strategy $6.8m; Artbank $0.8m)
- Screen Industry (Ausfilm $1.6m to encourage foreign screen production and investment in Australia for the benefit of the Australian economy and film and television industries; Australian Children’s Television Foundation $2.8m to invest in quality Australian children’s content)
- Literature (Public Lending Right scheme $10.3m; Educational Lending Right scheme $11.4m; Prime Minister’s Literary Awards $0.6m; Get Reading! $1.6m)
- The Enterprise Connect Creative Industries Innovation Centre, supported through the Department of Industry, Innovation Science, Research and Tertiary Education Associated Initiatives
- Australian Screen Production (Support: Since the introduction of the Australian Screen Production incentive: more than $600m has been delivered through the tax system; in response to the 2010 review of the Australian Independent Screen Production Sector, the Government announced a $56m restructure and funding boost over four years from 2011–12, to further support the sector)
- Taxation offsets (Cultural Gifts Program $34m; Register of Cultural Organisations $59.5m) (estimate for 2011–12)
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation $1.01b
- Special Broadcasting Service $247.5m
- Community Broadcasting Program $14.9m
- Indigenous Broadcasting Program $15.4m (funds a range of organisations for content production and distribution).
State and territory government investment in arts and culture (2010–11)*
- Australian Capital Territory $89.3m
- New South Wales $835.4m
- Victoria $580.4m
- Queensland $568.1m
- South Australia $296.3m
- Western Australia $556.8m
- Tasmania $114.3m
- Northern Territory $78.1m
Local government investment (2009–10)*
- Australian Capital Territory $89.3m
- New South Wales $409.7m
- Victoria $354.8m
- Queensland $228.6m
- South Australia $109.4m
- Western Australia $130.6m
- Tasmania $22.9m
- Northern Territory $3.9m
*Source: Cultural Funding by Government, 2010–11 (4183.0), Australian Bureau of Statistics
The cultural sector is a significant and growing part of the economy. It generates more revenue and employs more people than many other essential industry sectors, including agriculture, electricity and gas. It intersects with, and adds value to, many other important areas, from education to manufacturing, tourism and construction. In 2007, the output of the copyright industries at the core of the cultural economy generated just over $93.2 billion[i]in economic value.
In 2009–10, Australian households spent four per cent of their income—more than $19 billion—on arts and cultural goods and services.[ii] This demonstrates the economic value of culture in everyday life. Output in the cultural economy grew at six per cent annually from 1993–94 to 2005–06, compared with the broader economy, which grew at just 3.75 per cent over the same period. Cultural goods and services exported were worth $539.8 million, although this figure has dipped somewhat since. Australia remains a net importer of both cultural goods and services and there is room for growth in domestic production.
The 2011 Census data shows that almost 370 000 people worked in a cultural industry and another 161 000 were employed in cultural occupations throughout the rest of the economy for a total of 531 000 directly employed. However, when the scope of the sector is expanded to include education, manufacturing, accommodation and construction, it is possible to say that culture is an important element in the jobs of more than 3.7 million Australians.[iii]
The first half of the 21st century is a time of global economic change. The global financial crisis has had an enduring impact; economic and strategic influence is shifting to Asia, which is increasing demand for resources and leading to unprecedented strength of the Australian dollar. This is having a major impact on many industries. In the cultural economy, the film and games industries have suffered because of relatively high costs of production and the music industry has had to quickly adapt to changing modes of consumption and engagement.
The impact of global economic change will not fall evenly—some parts of the sector will thrive and others will grapple with new business models and competitive pressures. Nonetheless the uncertainty of these times increases the need to strengthen the forces that unite us, build community and bear witness to the diversity of lives and experiences. This is the work of culture.
If Australia is to position itself for the future, there is a need to encourage activities that derive value from the cultural economy through creativity and contribute new skills and jobs. The Government recognises that future wealth, as Glen Boreham, Chair of Screen Australia, put it, ‘will hinge on developing ideas, creativity, problem solving and innovation’ that generates a competitive edge for Australian products and services.
People in the cultural economy like to describe their sector as an ecosystem. This is apt, as it is diverse and interdependent. There is no single dominant organisation. Instead there are major institutions, profitable commercial companies, non-profit enterprises, micro businesses, sole traders and artists whose work is subsidised by other jobs, family and friends. Within this ecosystem, talent is always on the move, as ideas develop and find expression. All require support and access to funds to develop creativity and ensure their enterprise is sustainable. Creative Australia recognises the need to explore and develop new financing and investment opportunities that reflect the diverse nature of the sector. Broadening approaches to help ensure sustainable and resilient business models will become more important over the life of this policy.
Creative Australia aims to help ensure that the cultural sector—incorporating all aspects of arts, heritage and the creative industries—has the skills, resources and resilience to play an active role in Australia’s future.
[i] Price Waterhouse Coopers The Economic Contribution of Australia’s Copyright Industries, 2012.
[ii] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview (4172.0), 2012.
[iii] Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group Arts and Culture In Australian Life, February 2008.
The impact of the Asian Century will reach into the heart of Australia. This is an opportunity of enormous potential—there is much to celebrate, much to share and much to learn. But there is also the risk that this opportunity will be missed. Without a deep, multi-layered, two-way cultural engagement at all levels, the material and human potential of this transformation will fall well short.
The shift of global strategic and economic influence will change the way we build enduring relationships with the countries and peoples of our region. Culture has a central role in forming and developing those relationships. It is the shortcut to understanding who we are and what we represent, and it is our beacon abroad. For example, Oz Fest, Australia’s largest ever cultural festival in India, engaged with audiences across India and strengthened relationships between the two countries.
Australia has a vibrant culture, reflecting one of the oldest living cultures on earth. Our culture also reflects our rich mosaic of settlers. Travel, education and the increasing number of Asian migrants—and Australians living in Asia—helps build a shared understanding. We understand Australia’s diversity from lived experience, but may be slow to recognise that the diversity of the countries and peoples of Asia is even greater—a mixture of competing and complementary civilizations that have jostled and co-existed for centuries.
Australia needs to understand these societies better and find ways of engaging and exchanging with them. The Australian Government’s Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, released in October 2012, sets out a framework to position Australia to maximise its impact and role in the Asian Century. The White Paper recognises the importance of arts and culture in engagement with Asia.
Arts and culture are crucial to strengthening Australia’s formal and informal relationships with the countries and peoples of Asia. The increasing movement of people promises to amplify cultural links with the region and build respect and understanding. Cultural engagement with Asia will happen in different ways and at different levels. As it increases in importance, new models of bilateral exchange and institutional engagement will become important.
Promoting joint involvement and investment between Australia and international partners through cultural and creative engagements has provided, and will continue to provide, mutual benefits. It can drive tourism, generate employment and facilitate stronger partnerships. Co-production treaties for films have, for example, already provided significant creative and economic benefits.
Economic growth in Asia also promises to increase opportunities for participation, exhibition, transmission and dissemination of Australian artistic and creative products—expanding markets for skills, services and works. If this two-way exchange is to achieve its potential, Australians will need to make a greater effort to understand and learn from the rich cultures of our regional neighbours.
Like the rise of the Asian Century, the speed, extent and nature of Internet-enabled technological transformation is extraordinary, with cultural and economic dimensions.
The digital age presents legal, economic and structural challenges and opportunities. It will continue to have a substantial impact on the creation of cultural products, their distribution and the capacity of audiences to engage and make them economically sustainable. It will be the source of many new jobs that demand creativity, imagination and technical skill. It will profoundly change the way we learn, relate and communicate with others at home and abroad.
It is clear that the digital, networked world offers endless new ways to experience cultural products—for example, one-fifth of the audience for Australian opera experiences it online, and the National Library of Australia’s Trove Service has more than 70 000 registered users. This is potentially a golden moment for the cultural economy, as the historic obstacles of distance and the size of the local market disappear. So too is the complete and now successful move to the digital platform of the music industry with Australia now the 6th largest global digital music market in the world.
The ongoing impacts of digital technologies are already being felt in Australian homes—almost everyone who wants to can connect globally, communicate and do business instantly, join communities of interest, and enjoy entertainment and cultural products from a vast and diverse market. The possibilities this represents will escalate as high-speed broadband becomes universally available in Australia.
In this new environment, it is becoming increasingly possible to seamlessly move from being an audience member, to being a co-creator, critic, curator or direct funder. There are new connections between consumers and makers of creative and cultural content. This presents unprecedented opportunities for citizens to participate actively and creatively and provides producers and presenters with new methods of delivery, and new communities with whom to engage.
On the one hand, this new environment enables public broadcasters to be active in collaborating with their audiences and creating opportunities for citizens to interact creatively online. Initiatives like Australian Broadcasting Corporation Open, which aims to assist regional and rural Australians to create and post digital media stories, allows the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to collaboratively develop and showcase stories from the creativity of people from regional Australia. It also allows the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to share this online and through other forums with the nation and the world. In addition, since the launch of triple j Unearthed as the new Australian Broadcasting Corporation digital radio channel in October 2011, the site has attracted an audience of more than 3.5 million unique users and is now home to 40 436 musicians who have uploaded 87 682 Australian songs. Viewers of The Voice on Channel Nine created new iTunes hits daily as they downloaded the songs of the contestants in the record-breaking series.
On the other hand, this new environment enables international products to arrive instantly, challenging the viability of local enterprises and products and undermining traditional business models. Some fear this competition with the rest of the world will make it harder for Australian creators and creative industries to survive, but some are more optimistic and see opportunities as the barriers of distance and market size disappear.
The National Broadband Network is the largest infrastructure project in Australia’s history and will provide a new platform and opportunities for Australians to be connected locally, nationally and globally in this exciting and rapidly changing environment. It will not only make it possible to receive content, but, just as importantly, to create and collaborate in a new virtual world.
Australia’s cultural economy is centrally placed to play a crucial role in designing and developing content and applications for delivery through high-speed broadband. Operating online demands creative skills and this will extend beyond the arts to health, education, government and small business to make Australia truly competitive.
The digital revolution presents challenges for some of the most economically important creative industries, including publishing and contemporary music. These industries will need to adapt to successfully compete in a different economy and market. The Government is exploring longer term recommendations by the 2012 Convergence Review to ensure Australian stories continue to be told, produced and reach local audiences.
The move from traditional television services to a multi-platform, multi-screen environment is testing Australian content regulation. Mandating commercial television quotas for Australian content has been successful in the past and ensured audiences had access to Australian voices and stories. The challenge will be how we do this in the digital environment, where television is just one of many options available to screen audiences. Keeping Australian stories on screen will require the right balance of regulation and production support. Ensuring we have an innovative and sustainable local production industry in the future is a priority.
Cultural heritage institutions, performing arts, music and community cultural development organisations are all exploring ways to use the tools and opportunities of the digital world to create new works, bring material from the archives to life, and provide new forms of engagement or creative work. Creative Australia aims to support and encourage these initiatives as a contemporary expression of Australian culture relevant to audiences at home and abroad.
A democratic society seeks to unleash the creativity of all its citizens and to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of its most gifted and dedicated. The value of creativity is something that is increasingly recognised and valued. Creativity is an essential attribute in an increasing number of occupations.
The most gifted artists, however, take the ability to imagine, adapt, empathise and collaborate to another level through training, practice, discipline and courage. The extraordinary achievements that come when the most gifted individuals combine capacity and skill is something we recognise.
In Australia, many children play sport, and there are some who have the ability to perform exceptionally well—and we admire these children and encourage them to excel. The fact that some are more talented does not detract from those less gifted because there are places for amateurs, and for fans. So too with the arts. There is a need to nurture the most able—those with the passion and ability to strive for the highest achievements—while at the same time providing opportunities for those who want to be informed audiences, and for those who wish to dabble or simply enjoy the show.
Like the diversity of contemporary Australia, there are many ways for people to be involved in, and take pleasure from, arts and culture. As with sport, the arts celebrate leadership, skill and brilliance. It also encourages legions of others to engage on their own terms. At the heart of our culture are people reading, writing, drawing, painting, singing, performing, designing, up-loading videos and tweeting—expressing what it is to be human through stories, music, pictures and performance.
Many do this as part of their everyday lives, with family and friends, at community celebrations and through the Internet. Others choose to develop a particular skill or talent through education and training and work in the cultural sector. Others use their skills to develop commercial ventures through retail and online trade. Others work with professional artists in community cultural development projects that create new work and ways of engaging.
Artists and creative practitioners and professionals are at the heart of the cultural economy. As the report New Models New Money notes:
… it is their work that fills theatres, cinemas, galleries, bookshops and countless digital devices. Writers, visual artists, performers, musicians, composers are like scientists: unique individuals with highly specialised skills, knowledge, discipline and talent, who generate new ideas and new ways of understanding the world.
Artists and creative practitioners and professionals also play an important role as teachers and mentors for the Australian community and the next generation.
Including the arts in the Australian curriculum is an important step in building this creative capacity. For the first time, all Australian school children will be guaranteed an arts education. The importance of this cannot be underestimated, and its impact should be measured over the life of this policy as a new generation makes career choices by the end of the decade. The commitment to opening access to creative arts will be delivered in schools where the Government has built new libraries, performing spaces and work spaces through the Building the Education Revolution investment. This investment has given nearly every school in Australia new resources and has committed $14.1 billion to primary schools alone, with hard infrastructure complementing soft infrastructure.
Similarly, using the resources of the National Collecting Institutions, archives and galleries to bring humanities curricula to life, with authentic examples drawn from Australian history and data, is an important way of broadening and deepening the cultural experience of all Australian students.
Providing the right forms of support and recognition for individual artists is an important element of this policy. This includes pathways from school and university to work, opportunities for emerging artists to get a foothold, opportunities for mid-career artists to consolidate and recognition of the lifetime contribution of eminent artists in all fields.
With a population of only 23 million, Australia has achieved one of the biggest economies in the world. Australians are ambitious and competitive. We expect to do well against international benchmarks. This is true in many areas.
Australia is economically successful as well as stable socially and politically, with strong national institutions and respect for law. The OECD ranks Australia as having the 13th highest per capita gross domestic product in the world and at a time when much of the world has been in recession Australia has reported consistent economic growth.[i] Australia ranks second after Norway on the United Nations Human Development Index, and in the top 10 OECD countries for completion of higher education, and life expectancy.[ii] The gap in achievements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is the subject of sustained policy attention.
We take particular pride in achievements at home and abroad in sport, education, science, innovation and business. We also ensure that the resources needed to make this possible are available.
We are similarly ambitious for our artists and cultural products. We are thrilled when Australian films, authors, designers, architects, artists, performers, songwriters, composers and musicians win global acclaim, when our stories and icons attract attention, when our chefs and fashion designers set trends. Recognition is important and a source of pride.
Increasingly international critics are finding something uniquely Australian in our cultural exports—a uniqueness that goes beyond the old ‘ocker’ stereotypes and is found in new creations, and reinterpretations of the classics, by companies as diverse and accomplished as the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Theatre Company, Circa, Legs on the Wall, Belvoir, Australian Ballet, Black Swan and many more. We have also found success in areas including interactive entertainment and cinema so creativity is part of our international brand and at the heart of our trade strategies through Austrade’s Australia Unlimited
International success is important, but would not be possible if cultural production did not have a firm and broad base throughout the country. In communities all around Australia people are engaging with arts and culture, making, commissioning, and participating in a wide range of activities. This is no longer something that is handed down from above, but something that people are seeking out and engaging with directly and personally. These are our stories.
Creative Australia aims to build on this foundation. It proposes a plan for the next decade, to ensure that Australian artists continue to operate at the highest levels, that companies and institutions are sustainable, that cultural products are innovative and engaging, that Australian identity and stories are not swamped in a globe awash with cultural products, that the full diversity of our society is represented and that citizens have opportunities to be both creators and audiences. This will reinforce our brand as a creative nation.
Creative Australia celebrates Australia’s strong, creative and inclusive culture. It describes the essential role arts and culture play in the life of every Australian, and how creativity is central to Australia’s economic and social success: a creative nation is a productive nation.
Creative Australia comes at a time when transformative technological changes touch every aspect of artistic and creative endeavour. The policy builds on the successful government strategies of the past 40 years that have helped develop confidence and innovation in the arts, heritage and in creative industries.
This policy has five overarching goals, developed in close consultation with the community it serves. These goals articulate the future this policy will enable: the centrality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; the diversity of Australia and the right of citizens to shape cultural identity; the central role of the artist; the contribution of culture to national life and the economy; innovation and a digitally enabled creative Australia.
Recognise, respect and celebrate the centrality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures to the uniqueness of Australian identity.
Ensure that government support reflects the diversity of Australia and that all citizens, wherever they live, whatever their background or circumstances, have a right to shape our cultural identity and its expression.
Support excellence and the special role of artists and their creative collaborators as the source of original work and ideas, including telling Australian stories.
Strengthen the capacity of the cultural sector to contribute to national life, community wellbeing and the economy.
Ensure Australian creativity thrives here and abroad in the digitally enabled 21st century, by supporting innovation, the development of new creative content, knowledge and creative industries.
These goals establish the framework which will drive future action. Over the next 10 years Australia’s cultural sector will embrace new approaches and innovate to ensure culture is strengthened as the expression of Australian identity and individual creativity.
Creative Australia’s ambitious agenda will be delivered through action under three key themes: modernising funding and support; encouraging creative expression and recognising the role of the artist; connecting culture to national life for a social and economic dividend. The pathways for action provide a strategic framework to realise the vision of this policy.
Creative Australia recognises that culture is not created by government, but enabled by it. The role of government is to intervene in targeted ways to foster a cultural sector that is strong and sustainable. The funding and support structures that the government delivers enable the ecosystem of the arts, heritage and cultural industries to thrive.
Since the Australian Government committed to handing down Creative Australia, critical investment has been made in line with the strategic goals developed during the consultation period. This investment includes increased funding for the national collecting institutions, the establishment of an interactive games fund, a boost to contemporary music industry innovation and export, and infrastructure investment and extensions to the producer offset.
In the 2012-13 Budget, the government announced a funding boost of $64.1 million that included $39.3 million in additional funding for Australia’s national collecting institutions to expand their capacity to open up their collections for community, education and research uses.
In 2011-12, a funding boost of $56 million in retargeted and new funding was allocated for the Australian Screen Production Incentive and Screen Australia over four years. To bring The Wolverine to Australia, the Australian Government also committed a one-off payment of $12.8 million that triggered more than $80 million of investment in Australia and created more than 2000 jobs. $15.2 million a year was also made available to fund National Indigenous Television (NITV).
In 2012 $20 million was provided for the creation of an Australian Interactive Games Fund to support one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy. The first recipients of the fund will be announced in June this year.
In contemporary music, the Australia Council released a Music Sector Plan 2012-2014 highlighting sector needs and the Australian Government provided $3 million to boost contemporary music industry innovation and export, including the creation of a national live music coordinator position. This is in addition to the provision for on-going annual funding of $400,000 a year for the Contemporary Music Touring Program.
In 2011-12, $10 million was provided to the Australia Council over five years for the funding of 150 additional artistic works, presentations and fellowships over the next five years through the New Support for the Arts program.
In 2012, the National Year of Reading saw over 3700 events nationwide. The Australian Government’s $1.4 million investment leveraged an additional $5.6 million in support from over 230 partnerships around the country.
The Australian Government also delivered Oz Fest, a festival which showcased Australia’s contemporary arts and culture in India, from October 2012 to February 2013. In February 2013, it also launched a cultural program in Vietnam to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam. The programs have been coordinated by the Australia International Cultural Council, under the auspices of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Major cultural promotions will follow in Indonesia in 2014, Turkey in 2015 and Brazil in 2016.
$1.5 million was provided to support capital works for the creation of the Islamic Museum of Australia and $2 million to create the Antipodes Centre for Greek Culture, Heritage and Language, both in Melbourne. The Australian Government also provided $80,000 towards a Renew Australia conference held in Newcastle in March 2013 as a way for regional cities to share experiences and plans for renewal of central business districts with cultural activities and businesses under the Renew Australia program.
The goals of Creative Nation are supported by pathways for action under three key themes. These set a new foundation for engagement and collaboration, to ensure all Australians benefit from the cultural life of their nation.
This policy delivers a new funding and support framework which is responsive to evolving artistic and cultural practice. This framework will provide a landscape for philanthropists and businesses to work in partnership with well-coordinated support across all levels of government.
What this policy aims to achieve:
- New legislation to ensure a modern governance structure for the Australia Council.
- Reaffirm and revitalise the founding principle of the Australia Council, of arm’s length, peer-assessed funding decisions.
- Improve the flexibility and responsiveness of the Australia Council to evolving artistic practice.
- Ensure artistic expertise informs the Australia Council’s strategic planning and funding priorities.
- Enhance the Australia Council’s capacity to collect and publish important data on the arts, the impact of its funding and the broader achievements of Australia’s artists and arts organisations.
I believe the purpose of the Australia Council is to help ensure that Australia has a vibrant, viable and exciting arts sector that contributes to the cultural life of the nation. To encourage risk and to support projects and organisations based on their artistic merit. To support Australian artists in their endeavours while not dictating the form or content of their work.
Respondent, Australia Council Review Survey, February 2012
The Australia Council is one of the Australian Government’s principal funding bodies for the arts. Through its 40 years of investment in the creation and performance of excellent artistic work, the Council has played a central role in strengthening artistic practice and performance both locally and internationally.
Two generations of artists have been supported since the first grants were administered by the Australia Council. Those initial grants went to some of Australia’s most talented young artists: David Gulpilil, Thomas Keneally, Ruth Park, Les Murray, Frank Moorhouse, David Williamson, Thea Astley, Ross Edwards, Dene Olding, Shirley McKechnie, David Aspden, Fred Cress, Janet Dawson, Roger Kemp, Edwin Tanner, Dick Watkins, Ken Whisson, Alan Mittelman, Bea Maddock and Peter Tyndall.
In establishing the Australia Council, successive Governments have recognised the swell of creative talent behind the nation’s new confidence in telling unique Australian stories.
What has been achieved 6.1.1
Every year the Australian Government makes a significant investment in Australian artists and arts organisations through the Council’s wide range of programs and activities. In 2011–12, the Council delivered more than $164 million of support to the sector, including $51.2 million for our orchestras, $21.6 million for opera, $10.8 million for other music artists and organisations, $15.7 million for visual artists and organisations, $23.4 million for theatre companies and artists, $16.8 million for dance artists and companies, $5.9 million for writers, publishers and literary organisations, $13.1 million for multi-artform artists and organisations, and $4 million in other funding, including sector building and audience development initiatives and programs.[i]
Ultimately, this funding enabled the creation of 7656 new works and support for 1922 grants or projects. Significantly, 13 million people attended events, exhibitions and performances funded by the Council. Many more accessed work online, in print and through broadcast. Grants were provided to 908 individual artists, and funding to Major Performing Arts companies alone supported the employment of more than 2700 people.[ii]
After community and sector consultation, the results of an independent review of the Australia Council by Mr Angus James and Ms Gabrielle Trainor were released in May 2012. The purpose of the review was to ensure that funding opportunities offered by the Australia Council reflect the diversity, innovation and excellence of Australia’s contemporary arts and cultural sector and that the Australia Council was well placed to support the goals of Creative Australia for the next decade.
The review found that Dr H.C ‘Nugget’ Coombs’ original vision for the Australia Council was still relevant but should be updated to reflect its place in a 21st century Australia and the evolving contemporary arts sector.
At its core, the review recommended that the Australian Government retain the Australia Council’s operation at arm’s length from government, with competitive funding decisions made on the basis of peer assessment. The Government reaffirms its commitment to these principles.
The Government has accepted 16 recommendations for reform of the Australia Council, including the need to refine the Australia Council’s legislative purpose, to ensure a modern governance structure and introduce a new grants assessment model focused on funding work of the greatest artistic excellence regardless of artform.
A full list of findings, recommendations and the Australian Government’s response to the 2012 Review of the Australia Council are at Appendix B of this policy.
What happens next 6.1.2
Central to modernising funding and support, the Australian Government will implement the most significant reforms to the Australia Council since its creation 40 years ago. These reforms reaffirm the role of artistic expertise in the Australia Council’s decision making while it implements a new Grant Management System to cut red tape and inflexibility.
New legislation will be introduced to Parliament in 2013 to ensure a modern governance structure for the Australia Council, including functions outlining the Australia Council’s purpose in a 21st century Australia and a contemporary arts sector.
The new purpose of the Council will be to support and promote vibrant and distinctively Australian creative arts practice that is recognised nationally and internationally as excellent in its field.
This purpose will be supported by four principles for the Council. These are to: support work of excellence, at all stages of the artistic life cycle; promote an arts sector that is distinctively Australian; ensure that the work it supports has an audience or market; and maximise the social and economic contribution made by the arts sector to Australia.
The Australian Government will provide additional funding to the Australia Council of $75.3 million over five years, commencing in 2012–13, for new functions and programs in line with the recommendations of the 2012 Review of the Australia Council.
This funding will include $60 million in critical funding for artists and arts organisations, $5 million for a Major Performing Arts Excellence Pool, $4 million to build the professional capacity of the arts sector, and $4 million for a data collection program to inform research for the sector. This will allow the Council to be more flexible to meet the challenges of rapid change in music, performance, art and literature.
Through this additional investment, the Australian Government will support the development of a new body of 21st century art, recognising the importance of fostering a new generation of artists renowned for their excellence and innovation both nationally and internationally.
The reforms will reinforce the important principle of peer-assessed funding provided to the sector at arm’s length from government based on the judgment of expert peers drawn from the sector. Robust peer assessment processes empower artists to influence and guide the creation of more dynamic and challenging work and to explore new modes of expression and delivery.
Over the next two years the Australia Council will implement a new Grant Management System to streamline assessment which should see the number of grant programs simplified. Importantly, these reforms will better allow the Australia Council to keep pace with the changing nature of artistic practice over the coming decades while supporting work of the highest endeavour from across the sector.
As a result of these changes, the Australia Council will be a more nimble and responsive funding body with a clear mandate to support and promote vibrant and distinctively Australian creative arts practice that is recognised nationally and internationally as excellent in its field.
- Introduce a new act for the Australia Council, to update and clarify its purpose and provide a clear legislative mandate for future activity. The Australia Council’s purpose to support distinctively Australian work of artistic excellence will be explicit. The act will also provide the Australia Council with new flexibility to determine how it distributes funds across artforms and reaffirm its place in a contemporary arts sector in a 21st century Australia.
- Modernise the Australia Council’s governance structure to make sure its planning and corporate structures reflect its size and importance in Australia’s arts sector.
These changes include a new skills-based board and will help the Australia Council take a long-term and sector-wide view in looking at how it invests, ensuring it can identify emerging trends or pressures and adapt its funding model quickly in response. These changes will also deliver on the Government’s commitment to a strong and robust arm’s length, peer-assessment process for all funding decisions.
- Invest $75.3 million in new funding for the Australia Council, for new functions and programs in response to the 2012 Review of the Australia Council. This funding will include $60 million critical funding for artists and arts organisations, $5 million for a Major Performing Arts Excellence Pool based on an agreement with the states and territories for matching contributions, $4 million to build the professional capacity of the arts sector, and $4 million for data collection program to inform research for the sector and to track public value of investment.
- Transfer $39 million to the Australia Council for Playing Australia, Visions of Australia, Festivals Australia, Contemporary Music Touring Program, Contemporary Touring Initiative, and $22.8 million for the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy. These programs transferred from the Office for the Arts, Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport. This funding will assist the Australia Council to deliver these initiatives alongside their current programs and become part of the Australia Council’s base funding.
- Undertake an audit of programs administered by the Australia Council and the Office for the Arts. This will ensure the Australia Council focuses on supporting work of artistic excellence through peer assessment while the Office for the Arts focuses on cultural policy and coordinating access to the arts and use of cultural capacity to deliver programs of national priority.
- Redesign its grants model, to respond to new modes of artistic practice and growing demand, making it more flexible and increasing access to funding. Currently the Australia Council offers more than 150 grant streams a year. A new, artist-centric grants model is being developed which will reduce the number of grants to reflect artist needs and simplify the process of applying. While traditional artforms continue to form the bedrock of practice, new artforms are emerging, boundaries are blurring and technology means artists and audiences are engaging in different ways.
- Engage more broadly with Australian artists in its peer assessment process. Currently the Australia Council uses approximately 200 artist peer assessors a year. This number will increase by 25 per cent to 250 a year and new artist peers will be engaged each year instead of through the current three-year appointments.
- Develop a more flexible artform board structure to provide greater flexibility and discretion. This will allow the Australia Council to adapt and reform to become more responsive to the changing needs and demands of the arts sector and support emerging forms of artistic practice. The governing board will also be able to form Sector Strategy Panels to address the needs of the Australia Council’s Board, including by providing strategic guidance and artform expertise.
- Develop a new five-year strategic plan. Due to commence in 2014–15, the plan will provide the foundation for a new, artist-centric grants model and peer assessment process which will draw on the expertise of the panels.
Forward agenda 6.1.5
- More regular dialogue between the Australia Council and other arts agencies, especially national collecting and training institutions, to promote collaboration and better leverage existing resources and collections. It will also better align activities of arts agencies across the sector with the Government’s cultural objectives and measure the aggregated economic, social and regional impacts of the Australian Government’s investment. The Australian Government’s Office for the Arts will support this with additional policy development between arts and other Australian Government portfolios.
- Implement a strategic research program, by undertaking research in-house as well as leveraging the strong research and learning capabilities of the universities and tertiary education sector. In this context, the Australia Council will be well-placed to provide advice on behalf of the arts sector and contribute to the work of policy makers in government.
- Enhance the Australia Council’s focus on Asia, through the Creative Partnerships with Asia program, allowing the Australia Council to provide grants to support artistic collaborations and creative exchanges between Australian and Asian artists across any artform. This will provide a sound basis for the Australia Council to enhance its focus on Asia.
These actions will foster an Australian arts and cultural practice demanded and enjoyed by audiences locally and around the world. Through an enhanced focus on artistic excellence, and a diversified approach to investing in international engagement and cultural exchange, Australian arts practice will be supported and promoted both at home and abroad.
Through its new strategic planning approach, increased resources and improved grants process, the Australia Council will position itself as a trusted source of funding and support, knowledge and expertise, with the capacity to promote Australia’s artistic credentials effectively.
Over the life of this policy, the success of these reforms will be measured through establishing an appropriate set of key performance indicators. These will be implemented through the Australia Council’s budget statements and new strategic plan and reported on publicly in the Australia Council’s annual report and research program.
From the grassroots revival of Indigenous Australian performance through to cultural fusions of classical, rock and hip-hop, Australians are creating inspired music. Australians are also great music consumers with the sixth largest music market in the world, worth some $2 billion annually.
Last year in Australia, there were almost 42 million attendances at live music performances, spanning almost 4000 venues. In turn, our live music industry supports more than 14800 jobs. In 2011, an Ernst and Young study commissioned by APRA|AMCOS and funded by the Australia Council and other industry partners found that venue-based live music contributed $1.2 billion to the economy.
The ongoing transformation of the music medium as digital technology evolves presents great opportunities. It supplies seemingly limitless collections of music to people at an unprecedented rate. It also reinvents the methods of music creation; collaborations can occur in real time and across great distance and no longer do artists have to involve third parties in the recording or dissemination of their music.
Digital channels now account for an estimated 32 per cent of record company revenues globally, up from 29 per cent in 2010. Locally digital sales grew 36 per cent. Digital music services are now broadly segmented into two main consumption models of ownership (i.e. iTunes) and access (i.e. Spotify). Australia boasts more than 30 licensed digital music services, similar to that of Canada, Italy and the Netherlands and greater than Japan, the region’s largest recorded music market.
The Australian Government is a strong supporter of the industry, both for this economic dividend and the powerful social dividend it provides, particularly for our youth. Government broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, are major vehicles for sharing this music, and they embraced the online environment. ABC Classic FM is a broadcaster of live and recorded performance of Australian classical and jazz music. In addition, since the launch of triple j Unearthed as the new ABC’s digital radio channel in October 2011, the site has attracted an audience of more than 3.5 million unique users and is now home to 40 436 musicians who have uploaded 87 682 Australian songs.
National training organisations from the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Australian National Academy of Music and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School are building creative skills for new Australian music making, performance and sound design.
In 2010-11, the Australia Council invested a total of $84.7 million in music. $5.7 million of this was provided through the Music Board to activities including the writing and recording of new music, the presentation of concerts and tours and festivals, professional development for artists. The Council also released a Music Sector Plan 2012-2014 highlighting sector needs including data collection, regulatory challenges, content regulation, barriers for Indigenous musicians and international opportunities.
In 2012 the Music Board of the Australia Council also commissioned a report into music recording. The objective was to understand the needs of the music recording sector, assess what is required to grow the recording sector in the immediate and long term, explore the specific role of government in ensuring the sustainability of music recording in Australia.
$3 million over four years was provided in 2012 to support the contemporary music industry; including $1.75 million for SOUNDS AUSTRALIA which will grow export and domestic music markets. This funding will also assist the contemporary music industry to respond to the challenges of the digital environment, to create career pathways into the industry, and put in place a National Live Music Coordinator to ensure the Australian live music scene continues to thrive and contribute to our export success.
The development of the National Arts and Culture Accord will provide an opportunity to analyse the planning and regulatory rules that present barriers to artistic and cultural practice and limit opportunities for live music in urban areas.
What this policy aims to achieve
- Partnership across all levels of government, enshrined with the creation of a National Arts and Culture Accord.
- Stability and certainty for artists and the cultural sector through coordinated and collaborative government support.
- Funding arrangements and reporting requirements which maximise support for the arts and culture sectors through reduced administration.
Over the last 40 years successive governments at all levels have recognised the importance of investing in arts and culture because of the significant benefits that flow to the community, economy and nation. In doing so, these governments have built on earlier investment in libraries and state and national collections. This has helped Australians participate in culture and it serves to protect, promote and conserve cultural activities and artefacts.
Private and public investors have recognised the diversity of the arts, cultural heritage and creative industries, which cover individual artists, creative teams and technical experts, profitable commercial companies, non-profit enterprises and major public institutions. This has meant there have been various mechanisms to foster the growth of Australian cultural expression.
To maximise the impact of government support of the sector it is important that funding be provided in a way that minimises bureaucracy, covers all bases and removes duplication.
What has been achieved 6.2.1
The Australian Government invests more than $740 million a year in projects, initiatives and organisations with a national remit, including national funding and training bodies and collecting institutions. The investment by state and territory governments to support state and territory organisations, funding bodies and cultural institutions is also significant—totalling nearly $1.8 billion in 2010–11.[i] Local governments collectively contribute more than $1 billion to arts and culture a year, with most funding going to public libraries and local arts projects. Local governments also make a major contribution to the arts as employers of cultural development officers, who work with communities to build cultural engagement and participation.
Through regular meetings of the cultural Ministers and local government representatives, a number of significant national projects have developed successfully, and been renewed, including the Major Performing Arts Framework and the Visual Arts and Crafts Strategy. Cross-government investment ensures that the Major Performing Arts sector achieves excellence, providing Australian audiences with high-quality performances and fulfilling an important leadership role while the Visual Arts and Crafts Strategy has worked to improve sustainability in significant art institutions and the range of opportunities for Australian to see the work of visual artists.
In 2009, the Australian, state and territory governments released the National Arts and Disability Strategy. Through the Strategy, governments have agreed to work together to develop actions to address the barriers preventing people with a disability from accessing and participating in arts and cultural activities, both as audiences and creators, and from realising their ambitions. Further, governments have agreed to work together to develop and grow audiences for work created by artists with a disability and disability arts organisations and to ensure that people with a disability have a stronger voice in policy development and planning.
[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics Cultural Funding by Government, (4183.0)2010–11 ,.
What happens next 6.2.2
- Development of a National Arts and Culture Accord that will describe how each level of government will support arts and culture and set out principles for ongoing cooperation. This agreement, led by the Australian Government in partnership with the state, territory and local governments, will maximise the return on existing investment by improving funding collaboration. It will provide the framework for addressing some of the more complex cross-jurisdictional issues.
- All levels of governments will agree to a three-year work plan that will set out priority areas for joint action. This will ensure that arts education is a priority and made available to all students in Australia. It will also enable the coordination of existing and future research and data collection across all governments. It may also provide the structure needed for cooperation across portfolios and between governments on initiatives like the Australian Heritage Strategy, which the Australian Government is developing in consultation with state and territory heritage agencies to guide activity to protect Australia’s heritage.
- Refresh the Australia Council’s purpose and governance arrangements to increase flexibility and diversify funding to a broader range of arts organisations and individual artists. These reforms will retain the Australia Council’s operation at arm’s length from government and ensure competitive funding decisions are made on the basis of peer assessment. They recognise the important place of the Australia Council in the country’s cultural sector and its role as a central player in the growth of Australia’s world-class arts sector.
- Invest $1.25 million in new funding per year over four years for a Major Performing Arts Excellence Pool, in partnership with state and territory governments. This funding will harness excellence in Australia’s 28 Major Performing Arts companies and support innovative projects addressing agreed national priorities. It will also leverage support from the state and territory governments and implement the national Major Performing Arts framework. This funding forms part of the Australian Government’s response to the 2012 Review of the Australia Council.
- Australia’s first National Live Music Coordinator will work closely with the sector and government on local regulations that limit opportunities for live music in urban areas. This Australian Government funding will ensure Australia’s contemporary live music scene continues to thrive and contribute to our export success.
- Establish a national network for museums and galleries which will be managed in partnership between the National Museum of Australia and Museums Australia. The network will work to share resources and improve access to collections across Australia, to assist industry, researchers and the public.
- Coordinating local government cultural activities through the National Local Government Cultural Forum, a partnership between the Australian Local Government Association, Cultural Development Network, Global Cities Research Institute at RMIT University, and the Australia Council, to strengthen coordination and provide a firm base on which the National Arts and Culture Accord can build.
- Continue to invest in Australia’s cultural infrastructure through the Regional Development Australia Fund. In its first two rounds, 25 per cent of projects totalling $85 million were for arts and cultural projects as regional communities and locals identified social cohesion and liveability as priorities for partnership projects. In rounds three and four, a minimum of $40 million for arts and cultural infrastructure projects will provide ongoing opportunities for arts and cultural engagement in regional Australia and build on the significant investment ($300 million) made in regional infrastructure since 2007.
- Regional Arts Development Officers will continue to work with government to assist communities to improve their cultural infrastructure and promote their artistic and cultural achievements.
These measures will provide greater certainty about government investment, remove regulatory blocks and increase coordination in areas from live music to collaboration between collecting institutions.
Forward agenda 6.2.3
Building on the early focus of the accord on education, research and data, and heritage, the National Arts and Culture Accord will include future actions on Australia’s international agenda in Asia, cultural infrastructure, place-based approaches to progressing outcomes in regional Australia, and building better networks between our national cultural institutions and with their state, territory and local counterparts.
The revamp of the Australia International Cultural Council, as recommended in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, aims to ensure that all levels of government and important stakeholders in the cultural economy are engaged in cultural diplomacy efforts, particularly in the Asian region.
The National Collecting Institutions will implement strategies to enhance their leadership role and ensure greater collaboration with libraries, galleries, museums and archives. They will also take advantage of new opportunities to engage audiences in the fascinating stories told through their collections. The National Library’s Trove Service, for example, acts as a resource for state, territory and local libraries to allow researchers and community members to find, build and link information in its collections. The National Museum of Australia with Museums Australia will establish a similar network with museums and some galleries across the country and also work with the libraries established facilities in the Trove services.
Many planning and regulatory rules sometimes present barriers to artistic and cultural practice and engagement. Local regulations, for example, can limit opportunities for live music in urban areas. The City of Sydney recently established a Live Music and Live Performance Taskforce to advise on an action plan to guide efforts to better support live music and performance in the local government area. Initiatives such as this, as well as the work to be undertaken by the National Live Music Coordinator, will investigate the extent of regulatory inhibitions and be an important step towards increasing opportunities for the cultural economy to flourish. Continued collective consideration of the emerging needs of artists and the cultural sector to respond to the challenges of convergence, to continue to engage audiences for creative work and to grow innovative artistic practice will also be vital.
Access to affordable creative space to exhibit or perform artistic works is an important issue for artistic and creative communities. Building on local initiatives to grow access and provide space for artists to commercialise their output is vital to securing the infrastructure needed to support contemporary artistic practise. This is an area for enhanced partnership with government, philanthropic organisations, private organisations, and educational institutions. These bodies will come together to support services around spaces for arts and cultural production and exhibition by brokering, letting, subletting and developing affordable space for individual artists, creative collectives and small creative businesses.
Case study: Multi-government support for the arts: Sunshine Coast Regional Council illustrates Local Government’s contribution to arts at a community level 6.2.4
The usually peaceful holiday location of Boreen Point on the Sunshine Coast’s Lake Cootharaba is transformed biennially for 10 days into a local government showcase of arts and culture together with environmental sustainability.
After a robust community consultation process, the Sunshine Coast Regional Council created a cultural and environmental program entitled Green Art.
One of these major projects is the arts festival Floating Land, where Boreen Point bursts into artistic activity and demonstrates how successful arts and culture can draw community together. The area comes alive with colour and sound through artistically creative and environmentally conscious theatre, dance, artworks and workshops taking place in beautiful natural settings.
Floating Land is a role-model for projects at a community level attracting national and international attention, with artists from across Australia and the Asia Pacific taking part. They link with the community and broaden the local art experience to a global level.
The Council regards the role of local government to be one of fostering a creative and sustainable environment. Its vision is to become Australia’s best region for creativity and sustainability through the development of special strategies on green art, biodiversity and climate change.
The Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s initiative has been recognised by the Australian Government, winning the Active Arts category of the 2012 National Awards for Local Government.
What this policy aims to achieve:
- Greater public engagement in the arts to increase the profile of Australian artistic pursuit both nationally and internationally.
- Strong culture of giving to, partnership with and investment in the arts in Australia and a new generation of donors.
- Arts which are more innovative, dynamic and sustainable, through social investment and new models of giving.
Donation, private investment and sponsorship are essential to the life and innovation of the arts and cultural industries in Australia. Over the past 10 years philanthropic donations have more than doubled, but the 2011 Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts, headed by Mr Harold Mitchell AC, found the potential for more. The Review called for the fostering of a new culture of giving, partnership and investment in Australia.
More than 100 years ago, the Felton Bequest was established, providing the National Gallery of Victoria with access to funds that were greater than those of London’s National and Tate galleries combined. It is still the most valuable gift ever made to the fine arts in Australia,[i] and set a great precedent for the next century of private sector support for the arts. As a nation we have many great philanthropists who not only give generously but who also lend their expertise and leadership to artistic endeavour.
[i] Felton Bequest Committee Report, year ended 30 June 2011.
What has been achieved 6.3.1
The Australian Government through the Australia Business Arts Foundation and its predecessor, the Australian Foundation for Culture & Humanities, has actively encouraged sponsorship and philanthropic giving. The Australia Council, through Artsupport, has also developed the capacity of the arts sector to raise funds and to link with states and territories to mentor organisations across the country.
Today, there are many ways individuals and businesses can support arts and culture. Many arts projects are now finding support through fundraising mechanisms such as crowd sourcing, cultural bonds and micro loans, which are attracting many new donors and social investors. Other projects use existing resources to support artists and to engage the community in the arts. This can be seen in proposals for new types of funding which focus on investment, such as the Foundation for the Artist which was developed with support from Arts Queensland and the Centre for Social Impact.
An increased focus on arts and culture in education and training is resulting in a new generation of artists and creators able to develop networks of supporters who help develop their work. This is a growing trend in contemporary music, film, games and other areas of creative endeavour. It provides a whole new source of private sector support which needs to be encouraged and nurtured.
There is also a growing relationship between the private and public sector in providing space to artists and arts organisations. The success of Renew Newcastle in using unused private and public spaces for creative enterprises to rejuvenate towns and suburbs is driving economic and social change. It is an in-kind support model being replicated around the country and the world.
Donation, business partnership and sponsorship contribute more than $220 million to the cultural sector a year, representing roughly 10 per cent of total funding for the arts.[i] More than 400 000 Australians undertake some form of voluntary work for a heritage or arts organisation a year, making a gift of their time and energy.[ii] Gifts of cultural objects, reduced rent and other forms of in-kind support are essential to the wellbeing and sustainability of many cultural organisations.
What happens next 6.3.2
In the 2011 Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts, Mr Mitchell recommended a refreshed approach to attract a groundswell of support for the arts in Australia and leverage government investment.
The Australian Government will respond to the review by reforming services and programs that facilitate private sector support to the arts in Australia. The Government has accepted nine review recommendations, recognising that the private sector is an essential source of funds, investment, volunteers, sponsorship and mentors for the cultural sector. The full list of findings and recommendations, and the Australian Government’s response, are at Appendix C of this policy.
In January 2013, the Government established a new philanthropy and social investment agency for the cultural sector named Creative Partnerships Australia. Replacing the Australia Business Arts Foundation and Artsupport Australia, the new single agency is responsible for creating a new culture of giving, partnership and investment by bringing donors, business, artists and cultural organisations together. It will foster not only a culture of giving, partnership and investment but develop a process for mentoring to develop business skills, and develop entrepreneurship.
Creative Partnerships Australia will work to maximise business and philanthropic support by exploring new models of investment. This will be in addition to changes being made to the administrative arrangements of the Cultural Gifts Program and the Register of Cultural Organisations to make it easier for donors to give to cultural organisations.
The Australian Government will also provide an additional $8.595 million to Creative Partnerships Australia to establish a funding program for the cultural sector based on new models of funding. This will enable the new organisation to develop programs for micro-loans, crowd sourcing and matched funding.
These reforms will help the cultural sector secure additional non-government, long-term support and financing. They will also contribute to the Australian Government’s Social Inclusion Agenda by building partnerships between the private sector and not-for-profit organisations, working in conjunction with recent initiatives such as the National Volunteering Strategy.
- Confirm funding of $3.2 million over two years, commencing in 2012–13. This will help establish Creative Partnerships Australia, the new philanthropy, social investment and business partnership organisation responsible for bringing artists, cultural organisations, donors and private sector supporters together. The new organisation commenced operation on 1 January 2013.
- Provide new funding of $8.595 million to Creative Partnerships Australia to establish a funding program for the cultural sector based on new models of funding. This will enable the new organisation to develop programs for micro-loans, crowd sourcing and matched funding. This is in line with the recommendations of the 2011 Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts and is in line with the Government’s initiatives to support social investment and philanthropy more broadly.
- Streamline the administration of the Cultural Gifts Program and Register of Cultural Organisations to make it easier to give to cultural organisations. The Government will reduce red tape and improve timeframes for the Cultural Gifts Program and the Register of Cultural Organisations and transfer these programs to the Australian Taxation Office. As part of the Australian Government’s reforms of the not-for-profit sector, announced in the 2011–12 Budget changes, the Register of Cultural Organisations will be adapted to bring it into line with other deductible gift recipient registers. The Government is also considering whether to extend the Register to include organisations that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
- Consider the issues relating to testamentary giving to the arts through the Not-for-Profit Tax Concession Working Group. The introduction of testamentary giving incentives is a complex issue. The Working Group is considering issues around these incentives in the Australian context as part of its broader consideration of taxation incentives for support of the non-profit sector.
Forward agenda 6.3.4
The Government needs to ensure its policy settings for encouraging private sector support for arts and culture stay up-to-date with the way people and businesses choose to support the arts and how the cultural industries evolve.
The main aim is for government policies and incentives to facilitate increased partnership, philanthropy and in-kind support to the arts. To assist this, Creative Partnerships Australia will need to ensure that its strategic plan has a five-year outlook, with practical strategies to ensure it remains responsive to new opportunities as they arise. An ongoing increase of this support in real terms will be a clear indicator that initiatives the Government has implemented are succeeding.
The Government will also measure Australia’s culture of giving. Some indicators would be increasing the number of volunteers giving their time to support the arts, of business and community leaders lending their skills and expertise to assist artists and arts companies to thrive, and of people supporting the arts through crowd funding and social media.
Creative Partnerships Australia will monitor private giving to arts and culture and report to Government and the public on progress in realising the vision of this policy.
The Australian Chamber Orchestra’s (ACO) focus on building closer relationships between its musicians and patrons has resulted in private sector sponsorship of around $4 million a year and gives supporters a sense of belonging to the ‘ACO family’.
Australian Chamber Orchestra in Japan.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Hakuju Hall
The community support is multi-layered. Virgin Australia became ACO’s first principal partner in 2012 and other corporate partners include IBM, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, BNP Paribas, Transfield and Vanguard. Medici Patrons support individual musicians, and music lovers provide additional support.
Through ACO’s Medici Program, donations of between $25 000 and $35 000 for three years support the musicians’ Chairs and provide the opportunity for a close and lasting relationship between musician and patron.
The ACO has achieved substantial success inviting prominent individuals to intimate, exclusive concerts in elegant private homes, where they are not charged a ticket price but are invited to donate.
The orchestra’s National Education Program offers patrons various levels of support, for the program directed particularly at encouraging disadvantaged children across Australia. Education Patrons are invited to attend rehearsals and other events, as well as workshops with the children so they can see first-hand the benefits of their generosity.
A successful recent initiative is the ACO’s Instrument Fund. This provides an opportunity for wealthy individuals to invest in the ownership of a bank of fine instruments, starting with the acquisition of Australia’s only Stradivarius violin. The Fund has succeeded in attracting philanthropic support, led by a $1 million donation from Peter Weiss AM. Mr Weiss also owns the very fine Guarneri cello played by ACO’s Principal Cello Timo-Veikko (‘Tipi’) Valve, and is Tipi’s Medici Patron. His generosity is making a big impact on the orchestra and on Tipi’s music career. Mr Weiss is a long-standing, loyal patron and a valued member of the ACO family.
Virgin Australia is delighted to be associated with one of the world’s most internationally renowned touring ensembles. This Partnership will allow the ACO to extend its touring network, to take music to more people around Australia and the rest of the world—from the main-stages of capital cities through to halls in regional centres, and outback towns.
John Borghetti, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Australia
Creative expression defines our nation. For creative expression to thrive, three building blocks need to be in place: career pathways; government funding and support, and a strong and growing creative economy.
What this policy aims to achieve
- Build, produce and nurture world-class artists and creators.
- Ensure the opportunities, training and skills development needed for careers in the arts and creative sectors are not limited by social circumstance.
- Drive a culture of professional development that strengthens the capacity of artists and creative practitioners to be artistic leaders within the arts and culture sectors in to the future.
Creative expression defines our nation. In recent years more and more Australians have taken an active part in making and attending arts events with growing confidence in their own creative voices. Whether it is through live, interactive or recorded media or whether it is through drama, documentaries, comedy, music, dance, design, visual art, writing or traditional cultural practices, society benefits when it is empowered to share stories. There is a need to nurture the most gifted and talented while providing for those who want to be involved in and take pleasure from arts and culture. For creative expression to thrive, three building blocks need to be in place: career pathways to attract the best; government funding and support, which creates opportunities for visionary and ground-breaking creative works; and a strong and growing creative economy in both commercial and non-profit sectors.
Modern Australia celebrates its creative practitioners in all their diversity because we recognise strength in that diversity. These creative practitioners and creative organisations are our storytellers. They are responsible for strongly articulating our culture and building Australia’s resilience and capacity for growth. A successful career in the creative economy requires skill, discipline and dedication. It is also highly competitive.
The credits at the end of every Australian film are a snapshot of the extent of the industry’s demand for a technically proficient workforce. While the actors and, perhaps, the director, are the public face of success, the quality of the final product depends on successful collaboration with those who work behind the scenes.
Similarly, when a symphony orchestra performs, this is the result of years of training undertaken by each musician and the many working off-stage to make the performance possible. All have come to their roles through different pathways—some follow a linear path from education to career, some a more circuitous route combining on-the-job and formal training, and some by pursuing several occupations simultaneously.
What has been achieved 7.1.1
The breadth of jobs is considerable across the arts career pathway continuum—the 2011 Census estimates 531 000 Australians work in the sector.
Through its support for high-quality Australian content, and a range of interventions to encourage sustainability in the arts and cultural sector, the Australian Government also works to encourage real career pathways across this diverse sector. For example, the Australian Government’s investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres also builds real and sustainable economic opportunities for communities and artists. Support for the screen sector to encourage the production of high-quality national content also provides employment for Australian creative professionals at any stage of their career.
Vocational training is critical for the sector. Approximately 87 per cent of Australian artists have a post-school qualification. Significantly, artists rate formal training as the most important source of skills for their profession, more important than on-the-job learning.[i] In 2010, 83 167 students were undertaking a creative arts course at a higher education institution, and vocational training organisations reported another 53 600 students enrolled in such courses.[ii]
Underpinning these broader vocational offerings is the pursuit of elite training and excellence in performing arts training. Elite training is the bedrock of our international success in the arts and is necessary to produce the highest quality creative practitioners. It is from these institutions that we produce our best graduates who are central to the growth and celebration of cultural leadership. Elite does not imply ‘elitism’, as talent and drive are the primary criteria for entry into these organisations and their reach is broad. For example, 70 per cent of Australia’s professional musicians have participated in a program through the Australian Youth Orchestra.
These elite training organisations are nonetheless a small cohort and the Australian Government currently provides funding to some of them in recognition of their national reach and ongoing contribution to our cultural life and creative economy:
- Almost $17 million a year for the Australian Ballet School, Australian National Academy of Music, Australian Youth Orchestra, Flying Fruit Fly Circus, National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association Dance College, National Institute of Circus Arts and National Institute of Dramatic Art.
- Over $24 million a year to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, Australia’s premier screen arts and broadcast training institution.
Together, these institutions train more than 1300 students a year in addition to the number of students undertaking tertiary and vocational courses elsewhere, as noted above. Career pathways vary, but the long-term commitment to working in the discipline in which they trained is extremely high, despite lower levels of income than those with comparable educational backgrounds in other occupations.
In addition to this, the Australian Government has made major funding investments through the Education Investment Fund in new tertiary education facilities for teaching in the arts, heritage and creative industries:
- $30 million for the new Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education at Charles Darwin University, including a new gallery space
- $37 million for the Creative Futures Tasmania project, a new six-storey building for the University of Tasmania’s Academy of Creative Industries and Performing Arts
- $48 million for Gateway@COFA, a state-of-the-art teaching, learning and studio redevelopment of the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales.
Post-training, getting that first job is a critical step and is difficult without on-the-job experience. Students and early career professionals need opportunities to build specific work-related skills. The Government’s changes from 1 July 2012—to increase the tax-free threshold for individuals to $18 200—assists artists and creative professionals trying to forge a career in the arts and cultural sectors.
Tailored work experience and professional development programs have also yielded encouraging results—Australian Government programs like the Indigenous Repatriation Program and ArtStart build skills and provide real and relevant career pathways. Across Australia, cultural institutions and organisations offer a wide range of work experience or internship programs, which are vital industry-based solutions to developing career pathways.
A relatively recent development is an incubator model, which couples targeted skills development with mentoring and funding, to build sustainable creative careers. Important work is already underway in this area. GENERATE, a project piloted in 2011 by the Enterprise Connect Creative Industries Innovation Centre in partnership with the Australasian Performing Right Association, assisted creative enterprises to build business skills and has had significant success.
The growth and stability of the cultural economy depends on a strong continuum, beginning with arts education for all in schools through the Australia Curriculum: the Arts, and continuing with appropriate tertiary and vocational education and elite training, supported by opportunities to make the jump from education to professional practice. Government must ensure that training opportunities respond to the market, audience patterns and changing modes of production and delivery.
What happens next 7.1.2
The Australian Government will fund a series of initiatives to ensure strong pathways from professional training into real and sustainable creative careers:
- $20.8 million in new funding for elite training organisations to sustain and grow training available to students and ensure they continue to provide leadership, a 30 per cent increase in base funding.
- $9.7 million from 2013–14 to continue the highly successful ArtStart program. This will assist graduating practitioners to hone their business skills and apply their craft across a range of career pathways.
- $3.4 million to establish the ArtsReady program, to support job seekers, school leavers and at-risk students to find arts careers through on-the-job training. This initiative will focus on building partnerships with employers to provide real and relevant training and be managed through the Australian Football League (AFL) SportsReady program which is engaging students through sport. ArtsReady will respond to opportunities to similarly engage with students through music, screen and other art forms and show them career pathways and skill development.
- $8.1 million for the Creative Young Stars Program, to encourage, support and celebrate creative, academic and community achievement and participation of students in primary and secondary schools and post-school young people to 25 years in every community across Australia through Federal electorates.
- $1.25 million to address career pathways in the contemporary music industry, announced in 2012. This will provide a range of initiatives, including a program of residencies and training to develop song writing and performance skills of musicians.
- $1.1 million to establish the Screen Australia Media RING Indigenous Employment Strategy. Funded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to create 40 new jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the media and screen industries over the two years of the strategy.
These initiatives will work to strengthen career pathways and provide the investment in cultural leadership needed in the 21st century.
Forward agenda 7.1.3
The need to innovate, to remain globally competitive and to reach new audiences will continue to challenge the arts and cultural sector. Responding to these trends will continue to be a priority for the Australian Government. The Government’s policy settings will need to recognise a diverse and technologically enabled sector and audience base.
New types of training and new delivery models will be needed—for both vocational and elite training. Graduates will need to be prepared for a broad range of careers in the arts and cultural sector to strengthen the skills base of creative industries. The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations initiative—the Innovations of our Cultural Leaders—will push the boundaries of creative arts and performance as we know them.
Arts training bodies will need to move quickly to take advantage of the opportunities provided by high-speed broadband, which enables truly interactive training experiences without requiring students to be in the same location as the teacher. The Government has funded the Australian Youth Orchestra’s Digital Connection Trial which demonstrates how high-speed broadband can support video communications between cities, regional and remote areas for interviews, live auditions and master classes for students—right from their own homes, classrooms, rehearsal spaces and concert halls. This will provide a solid basis to build on.
Priorities for the Government to ensure it supports the right models for training and career pathways will be to:
- Review national and elite training in Australia to enhance the success of the sector. The review will examine the infrastructure required to support practitioners and cultural leaders and the development of career pathways for Australia’s creative talent.
- Facilitate closer engagement between Australia Council-funded organisations and national training bodies. These organisations provide a major source of employment for graduates of the arts training bodies and there is important work to be done to ensure training provides the best possible preparation for future employment.
Case study: Soprano Deborah Cheetham: encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander singers to aim high 7.1.5
Aboriginal soprano Deborah Cheetham is searching out, training and mentoring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander opera singers. Ms Cheetham—one of a handful of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander opera singers including tenor Harold Blair of the 1950s and 1960s, and Maroochy Barambah in the 1990s—wants to be a trailblazer.
Wanting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander singers to aspire to an elite level in music, Ms Cheetham says all that is missing is exposure and opportunity. She is determined to lead the way by providing training and mentoring for these opera singers who can then claim and create new opportunities.
Since Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are accustomed to singing acoustic music and telling stories through song, Ms Cheetham decided the best way to start was using opera to tell a ‘traditional’ story. So she wrote, composed and produced Pecan Summer for her not-for-profit enterprise, Short Black Opera Company, telling the story of the 200 Yorta Yorta people who walked off Cummeragunja Mission in 1939 in protest against living conditions and restrictions.
Ms Cheetham heads the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts. With its support, she travelled throughout Australia, to audition hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander singers for the cast of 16 for Pecan Summer. Its world premiere in Melbourne in September 2011 brought together Australia’s first classically trained Indigenous ensemble.
Ms Cheetham ran a Spring Intensive Opera, at Wilin Centre to discover and nurture Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent. In 2011–12 she received $16 000 from the Office for the Arts’ Indigenous Culture Support program to establish an annual intensive training program for one-on-one professional coaching for Pecan Summer. An additional $15 000 in 2012 enabled a Spring Intensive workshop and rehearsal program in Perth.
The singers Ms Cheetham has mentored are aiming high. Tori Oakley, who is 19 years of age from Denham in Shark Bay, Western Australia, regards Ms Cheetham as her idol. She sang in Pecan Summer with her mother Pat Oakley, and has since become the second Aboriginal student accepted into the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts’ classical voice and opera course. For some of the sell-out performances of Pecan Summer, the cast was joined on stage by the Dhungala Children’s Choir, another of Ms Cheetham’s mentoring successes. This choir was formed in early 2010 when Ms Cheetham began auditioning for Pecan Summer in the Shepparton area and eventually formed a choir of 20 young people, as a way of showing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children a pathway to the future.
Ms Cheetham, graduated from the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music and studied at the Julliard School of Music in New York. She has since provided opportunities for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and was awarded a prestigious
$90 000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board Fellowship from the Australia Council in November 2006.
“Aboriginal Australians have passed on knowledge through the arts for 1000s of generations. We are hardwired to perform. It is part of our genetic makeup….thousand[s] [of] years of accumulated knowledge and wisdom is there within us. Short Black Opera provides the opportunity for talent to be developed.”
Soprano Deborah Cheetham, Pecan Summer’s writer and producer
What this policy aims to achieve
- Every student has the opportunity to receive an arts education.
- Creativity in schools is considered as a vital 21st century skill to drive innovation and productivity.
More than 90 per cent of Australians believe the arts should be an important part of the education of every child.[i] Everyone has the right to an arts education in school and the chance to reap the benefits it offers.
International evidence shows that the benefits of an arts education include, but go well beyond, arts-related skills and knowledge. Education that focuses on the creative process is important for innovative and flexible thinking, an essential skill for the 21st century.
The pathway into a career in the cultural economy begins with a strong arts education at school. However, arts education is not only about developing the skills for a career as a creative professional. An arts-rich education that starts at school helps young people think critically and develop a strong sense of identity and high self-esteem. It also assists to develop future audiences, consumers and creators. Engagement in the arts at school also improves students’ performance in other areas of the curriculum, in particular for children who are ‘at risk’ and face other life challenges.
Almost all school students now undertake some form of arts and cultural studies, but the methodology and content in delivering this education is not yet uniform. In many areas teachers receive little support or training in integrating creative arts into their classrooms
[i] Australia Council More than bums on seats: Australian participation in the arts, 2010
What has been achieved 7.2.1
The National Education Agreement, one of six Council of Australian Governments national agreements, forms the basis for coordinated activity on education and recognises that high-quality schooling supported by strong community engagement is central to Australia’s future prosperity and social cohesion.
More than $8 billion through the National School Pride program and Primary Schools for the 21st Century funding has been spent on Australian schools—primary and secondary, government and non-government for 2926 multi-purpose halls and 3130 libraries in schools across the nation.
Existing in-school programs, such as those offered by the Song Room, Bell Shakespeare and Australian Children’s Music Foundation, supported through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, improve retention rates and outcomes, particularly for otherwise disengaged students.[i] Indeed, students involved in longer-term Song Room programs were more likely to be at the top two levels of the Social-Emotional Wellbeing Index—particularly on the indicators of resilience, positive social skills, positive work management and engagement skills. These in-school programs demonstrate the importance of ensuring that all students have access to a strong program of arts education, which focuses on the creative process itself, as well as artistic outcome. Musica Viva Australia also runs an expansive in-schools program to inspire students to create music and challenge themselves, which incorporates skills development for teachers to help them deliver music curriculums.
What happens next 7.2.2
- The Australian Government has committed to work with state and territory governments and non-government education authorities to implement the Australian Curriculum: The Arts to introduce universal arts education in schools across Australia. The Curriculum will ensure that every student, from Foundation to the end of primary school, will study the arts in a rigorous and sequential process. Also, from the first year of high school, students will have an opportunity to experience some arts subjects in greater depth and to specialise in one or more arts subjects. The Curriculum will enable students to study the arts across five subjects—dance, drama, media arts, music and visual arts—and allow them to explore the relationship and interaction between artforms.
- The National Arts and Culture Accord providing a strong base for the Australian Government to work with state, territory and local governments to build support for and ensure consistency in the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts, including through resources and training for teachers.
Forward agenda 7.2.3
As the Australian Curriculum: The Arts is rolled out, it will mean that every child is given access to arts education and that the important role of creativity across the curriculum will be better understood.
Increased access to high-speed broadband will enable greater engagement through virtual classrooms, and interactive teaching resources will provide opportunities to change and expand the way teachers, educational institutions, community organisations and business facilitate access to and participation in arts education. An example is the Australian Government’s significant investment in Musica Viva to develop world-leading music educational resources which take advantage of digital technologies such as tablets and interactive white boards. Another is the Sydney Opera House’s From Bennelong Point to the Nation project that uses the National Broadband Network to deliver virtual classes in drama, dance and music to students living in remote and regional areas across Australia. There is scope to expand this approach to other organisations and artforms.
Constructive discussion through the National Arts and Culture Accord will aim for co-investment and expansion of such models in each state and territory, commensurate to that jurisdiction’s needs and that of its school system. The Accord will, in this way, support the aims of the National Education Agreement.
Cross-government collaboration has already resulted in major investment in the National Digital Learning Resources Network, which includes a digital curriculum resources collection managed by Education Services Australia. This Network will enable online delivery of the Australian Curriculum and its connection to a growing range of digital curriculum resources for students, as well as resources to support teachers to achieve professional standards. Education Services Australia has, in building the Network, developed strong partnerships with our cultural institutions. These institutions are custodians of Australia’s cultural heritage and are a rich source of content for the curriculum, not just in the arts.
Once the arts curriculum becomes established, along with ArtsReady, better links can be built between school-based education and the elite training organisations.
Bringing creative practice knowledge into the classroom will ensure the ambition of delivering a curriculum across the five artforms is achieved. This means building further opportunities to support individual artists and arts organisations working with schools, and training teachers to deliver an arts curriculum.
Importantly, creative thinking and design will play key roles in positioning young minds to be innovators. While we cannot train people for jobs that do not yet exist we must be working to ensure our education systems cultivate creativity.
What this policy aims to achieve
- Assurance that digital and emerging platforms have a wealth of high-quality, accessible Australian content.
What has been achieved 7.3.1
The digital age is already driving changes in the traditional structures that support arts and culture and in the business models that enable creative industries to produce and distribute Australian content. The National Broadband Network is Australia’s most significant infrastructure project of the 21st century. It provides access to high-speed broadband, and will aid the transformation into the digital age, magnify the impact of engagement with multiple devices, create more demanding audiences, challenge traditional business models, and foster new opportunities.
When Creative Nation was released in 1994 it identified the production of high-quality Australian content for use on CD-ROM-enabled desktop computers as one of the greatest technological challenges. It is helpful to remember this because it points to the speed and breadth of the social and cultural changes we are going through now that the Internet has transformed the world. We must be able to create and communicate Australian content through an expanding range of networks, platforms and devices with the ease and immediacy audiences expect.
The converged world offers great potential for Australian content creators. Screen Australia research shows that 91 per cent of people surveyed in 2011 believed it was important that Australia had a film and TV industry producing local content.[i] In February 2012, 58 per cent of television hours viewed on demand (both commercial and public broadcasters) was Australian content.[ii] The local screen industry excels to bring us unique, entertaining and challenging content.
The creative sector is innovating in response to the shifting nature of commercial opportunities driven by convergence. Feature films may soon rely less on traditional distribution models to reach audiences when films can be downloaded quickly and affordably by way of the National Broadband Network to homes across Australia and the world. The revenues from digital music are overtaking CD sales. Figures from the Australian Recording Industry Association show that revenues from digital music sales grew to 46 per cent of total music sales in 2012. The downloading of video content is likely to accelerate in much the same way in coming years.
Despite the huge disruptions that we have seen in industries like music publishing, overall the move to digital has led to increased benefits to the economy, with copyright industries contributing $93.2 billion, or 6.6 per cent of gross domestic product in 2010-11—an increase of 35 per cent from three years previously.[iii]
The games sector has grown in a few short years to be a significant employer, and Australians now spend approximately $1.5 billion a year on interactive games. We need to make sure we continue to harness the potential for revenue as part of the new converged world. Australians are spending more than ever on screen and digital content, including on games and music. More of that spend should be boosting our talented Australian creative businesses.
Investment in digital content is being delivered through various avenues, such as support for the Australia Council and Screen Australia, as well as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Special Broadcasting Service. Significant investment is being made in the digital economy and industry innovation programs.
The Australian Government has undertaken a number of reforms and increased its investment to support high-quality content and creative businesses in recent years.
The Producer Offset tax incentive is now five years old and, since its inception, it has resulted in increased expenditure on feature films and a trend towards premium television programs. It has also delivered certainty for producers seeking to finance their projects. In 2011, in response to the 2010 Review of the Australian Independent Screen Production Sector, the rate of the Post, Digital and Visual Effects Offset was doubled, from 15 to 30 per cent, resulting in increased levels of support to our world-class post-production and effects studios. In 2012, the Government provided an incentive payment of $12.8 million to secure the filming of The Wolverine in Sydney—attracting an estimated $80 million of investment into Australia and creating more than 2000 jobs for local cast and crew whose skills are internationally acclaimed.
[i] ‘Australian screen stories are important to Australians’, Screen Australia submission to the National Cultural Policy, 2011.
[ii] ‘Spotlight on Catch-up TV: Television content on demand’, Screen Australia, July 2012.
[iii] PricewaterhouseCoopers The economic contribution of Australia’s copyright industries: 1996–97 to 2010–11, prepared for the Australian Copyright Council, 2012.
What happens next 7.3.2
The Australian Government will:
- Provide $75.3 million of new investment to support key reforms to the Australia Council. This will ensure that the Government’s investment in Australian artists will keep pace with changing artistic practice and audience expectations.
- Provide new funding of $20.8 million for the elite training organisations to foster development of education and research to support artists in rapidly changing artistic practice.
- Provide new funding of $9.3 million to six Major Performing Arts companies: Bangarra Dance Theatre (NSW); Belvoir (Company B) (NSW); Black Swan State Theatre Company (WA); Malthouse Theatre (Vic); Circus Oz (Vic); and West Australian Ballet (WA) to ensure they are able to continue to tell innovative and uniquely Australian stories.
- Undertake a comprehensive survey of the screen sector, including games companies, to be released in 2013 to inform policy development. Screen Australia is working with the ABS to deliver the survey, which was an outcome of the 2010 Review of the Australian Independent Screen Production Sector.
- Create an online production fund to support the production of premium Australian content for online delivery. Screen Australia will explore partnerships with telecommunication providers, broadcasters and online providers.
- Providing an immediate investment of $10 million over four years for screen production for digital platforms including television. This will support innovation and augment Screen Australia’s multi-platform programs, aiming to extend the reach of Australian stories and content to audiences, and support the production industry in making innovative Australian work.
- Investing $2.4 million over four years to ensure the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (AMRAP) can continue to assist musicians and community broadcasters increase the radio airplay of contemporary Australian music and $2.6 million over four years to assist community groups that operate self-help radio retransmission facilities in regional and remote areas to continue providing radio services to their communities.
- Work with industry on long term measures to support production and distribution of Australian screen content including the converged content production fund proposed by the Convergence Review.
The Australian Government has introduced a number of initiatives to assist the sector to adapt to meet the demand for high-quality Australian content and to assist the transition to a new creative economy. These include providing:
- $20 million over three years from 2012-13 for the new Australian Interactive Games Fund to support independent games studios to create innovative digital content in Australia and strengthen Screen Australia’s program to build sustainable multiplatform content and distribution businesses. This initiative acknowledges feedback from the sector and issues raised in the 2012 Convergence Review, and will assist to develop new Australian screen content for digital platforms.
- $3 million over four years, as announced in 2012, to support the contemporary music industry, including $1.75 million for Sounds Australia which will grow export and domestic music markets. This funding will also assist the contemporary music industry to respond to the challenges of the digital environment, to create career pathways into the industry, and put in place a National Live Music Coordinator to ensure the Australian live music scene continues to thrive and contribute to our export success.
Further to this investment the Australian Government has:
- Delivered the initial response to the 2012 Convergence Review. This sees Australian content quotas extended to free-to-air commercial television multi‑channels.
- Commissioned the Australian Law Reform Commission enquiry to consider whether the exceptions and statutory licences in the Copyright Act 1968 continue to be appropriate in the digital environment. This recognises the role that Australian copyright plays as the primary legal framework supporting the creative economy. This inquiry, led by Professor Jill McKeough, is designed to ensure Australian copyright law continues to provide incentives for investment in innovation and content in a digital environment, while balancing the need to allow the appropriate use of both Australian and international content.
- The Australian Government is considering becoming a party to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Beijing Treaty on Audio-visual Performances. This treaty aims to strengthen the position of performers in the audio-visual industry by providing a clearer legal basis for the international use of audio-visual productions, both in traditional media and in digital networks, and by safeguarding the rights of performers against the unauthorised use of their performances in television, film, video and other media.
Forward agenda 7.3.3
What will persist over the next 10 years is an expectation and desire for Australian content to be available—whether on our televisions, desktop computers, tablets, mobiles or whatever comes next—and for Australia to have a dynamic creative sector to provide that content.
Australian artists and those who invest in them will continue to embrace new technologies, to find ways to communicate with their audiences and to expand Australia’s cultural landscape. However, as they do this they need to know their work will be respected and protected and that there are adequate protections in place to allow them to be rewarded for their creative output. The current framework must be changed to ensure artists, and those who invest in them, are given the tools to protect content from unauthorised use.
The Government will work with key industry organisations and leaders to build business models around reward for creative production accessed through digital platforms.
It will be critical for the Government to continue to actively assess and adapt its current forms of support and investigate new measures of support to maximise delivery on its goal that Australian creativity thrive here and abroad in the digitally enabled 21st century. Future funding models for arts and culture will need to be more flexible and must champion innovation. Audiences will drive change and, by doing so, will become more central to the way content is conceived, created, discovered and accessed. In this dynamic process the Government will track progress, including on Australia’s use of and contribution to creative content, through an extensive range of industry data and through information and research released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and Screen Australia’s comprehensive research program. Further, it will be essential for the Government to support the development and growth of a digital environment.
From the moment a child’s imagination is captured by live performance, music or art, a seed is planted. Many artists and audience members remember when their imagination was first ignited. Growing the seed, by ensuring access to and the possibility of participating in extraordinary cultural events is a life-long process.
It is a desire to seek out that moment when a stage is empty, the lights still down, when anything is possible—tragedy, beauty or even the fall of a noble king—the split-second when an audience waits with great expectation and then joins with others applauding a captivating performance.
It is that desire to be in a crowd with excitement, anticipation and pleasure, a gig at the local pub or RSL, an orchestral concert, performance, movie, exhibition or a musical festival in the bush or a crowded urban stadium.
Today, Australian audiences engage with arts and culture at an unprecedented rate. Each year, more than two-thirds of adults visit the cinema; one-third attend a live music event, and just more than one-quarter visit a museum or gallery.[i] In 2009–10, an estimated 41.97 million patrons attended more than 328 000 venue-based live music performances at 3904 live music venues across Australia.[ii]
Australians are active and committed arts audiences by international standards. Recent research by the Australia Council indicates that a greater proportion of adults in Australia attend an arts event than do adults in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.[iii] The research also shows that audiences are getting younger and their demand for cultural content is increasing.
As technological innovation adds to the way audiences experience the arts, organisations need to be even quicker to identify the market, to pitch to it, sell to it, and to come back next year with more work. Social media is changing the way people find out about events, access and co-create them, and remember them. In 2012, Screen Australia released What to Watch? Audience Motivation in a Multi-Screen World, setting out the results of a study into screen-based audiences. It argued that audiences are becoming more sophisticated, more technologically savvy and more discerning in their viewing.
The Australian Government already invests in audience development initiatives through the Australia Council, which includes promoting an appreciation of the arts in one of its overarching objectives. Through the National Arts and Disability Strategy, the Australian Government, along with the state and territory governments, has committed to developing and growing audiences for work created by artists with a disability and arts disability organisations.
[i] Based on 2009–10 figures. Australian Bureau of Statistics: Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2011 (4172.0),.
[ii] Australasian Performing Right Association Economic Contribution of the venue-based live music industry, 2011.
[iii] Australia Council More than bums on seats: Australian participation in the arts, 2010.
This policy framework articulates a vision for Australia’s arts, cultural heritage and creative industries sectors to ensure government supports cultural strength, resilience and innovation.
The Australian Government will track and target outcomes over time. As initiatives are introduced and the policy framework implemented, various qualitative and quantitative measures will be used to ensure the policy remains relevant and focused.
Using the suite of statistical information published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics the arts, cultural heritage and creative industries sectors and Australian Government have at their disposal a set of indicators covering the participation of Australians in the arts, and covering the sector’s economic contribution to the arts.
Successful implementation of Creative Australia will see:
- Growth in participation and engagement in the cultural sector, as shown by an increase in:
- attendance at cultural venues and events
- participation in cultural activities
- cultural tourism
- students receiving in-school arts education
- participation in extracurricular arts education.
- Growth in the economic impact of the cultural sector, as shown by an increase in:
- production of goods and services by the cultural industries
- cultural employment
- volunteers in the cultural sector
- household and visitor expenditure on cultural goods and services
- private sector support for the cultural sector, including philanthropy, sponsorship, social investment and gifts of cultural items.
- Growth in the cultural value of the sector, as shown by an increase in:
- cultural infrastructure
- holdings of heritage collections
- innovation, including support for the creation of new works and industry development activities
- the value of cultural exports.
A significant proportion of the Australian Government’s investment in arts and culture is made through national cultural agencies and institutions. Steps have already been taken to better understand and demonstrate how the objectives and activities of these institutions align with the cultural and broader policy strategy through reforms to agency reporting arrangements and development of a new governance reporting framework. Once fully implemented, the new governance framework will provide consistent baseline data to measure the institutions’ aggregated economic, social and regional impacts and the impact of the Government’s investment in national cultural agencies and institutions, including broader benefits to the Australian community.
The Meeting of the Cultural Ministers Statistics Working Group, first established by Cultural Ministers in 1985, supports a national program of cultural data collection, research and analysis. The Statistics Working Group aims to improve policy and decision making in cultural industries and in government by enhancing the quality, range and availability of relevant cultural statistics. It promotes the collection of high-quality data within cultural industries and supports the development of national standards for data collection. The Statistics Working Group also commissions a range of statistical research work and produces publications.
The efforts of the Statistics Working Group is underpinned by the National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics which each year produces a body of statistical data on arts and culture in Australia.
The Statistics Working Group will play an important role in supporting improvements to the analysis and dissemination of national data collection to:
- enable government, the sector and the community to monitor the achievements of the arts and cultural sector;
- test the impact of government investments in supporting national policy objectives;
- build a stronger understanding of the economic and social impacts of arts and culture; and
- identify gaps to establish new areas of data collection.
Increasing attention is being directed at the most effective ways of measuring public value. This includes wellbeing measures drawing on a range of outcomes, including but going beyond economic indicators.
In Europe and the United States there is continuing work to define and measure cultural value more effectively, including through the United Kingdom Government’s Cultural and Sport Evidence strategic research program, the OECD and the European Union. In Australia, Screen Australia, the Australian Film, Television and Radio School and the Australia Council have been working to find more effective and accurate ways to measure the contribution of art and culture to individual lives, communities and the economy. Australian academic researchers have also been collaborating with these agencies, including in international projects across a range of research centres. The Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, established in 2005, focuses research and development on the role creative industries and their contributing disciplines make to a more dynamic and inclusive innovation system and society.
Creative Australia is designed to assist with the transition to this more integrated model for the cultural economy, and to provide the partnership, education, measurement, technology, funding, policies, audience development and recognition that will be essential for culture to carry the weight of being a pillar of Australian society in the 21st century.
Creative Australia will also draw on expertise in evaluating artistic practice in Australian grant making bodies through peer assessment, and the expertise of curatorial and research experts as a major resource in understanding the capacity and creativity of Australia’s cultural sector.
- Growth in participation and engagement in the cultural sector, as shown by an increase in:
Appendix A 10
This national cultural policy grew out of discussions with members of the Australian community. It was born out of the Australia 2020 Summit, when the idea of a national cultural policy was raised as part of the Creative Australia stream. The ideas put forward in submissions to the Summit, and the input from participants at the Summit itself, formed the framework for this policy.
Developing the policy included a dedicated process of consultation across the arts and cultural sector. Central to this was the release of a National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper by the Minister for the Arts in 2011. The paper proposed four goals for the policy and invited responses on how they might be realised. More than 450 formal submissions were received in response—those that can be made public are available online on the Submissions page.
The input received in response to the discussion paper was supplemented by an online survey which sought to elicit sector and community views. More than 2000 people completed the survey. Additional feedback was provided by people attending independently organised public fora around the country. Many of these fora led to the development of collaborative submissions incorporating the views of hundreds of people and multiple organisations. For example, the Digital Culture Public Sphere consultation used online social networking tools, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and live streaming, to collect ideas and recommendations which fed into the consultation process.
Finally, a specialist reference group, comprising experts from a broad range of sectors across the arts, cultural and creative industries, provided ongoing input to the policy’s development.
The resulting policy responds to the key issues raised through this process.
Feedback received through the consultation process reflected overwhelming enthusiasm for a national cultural policy that will shape the Australian Government’s engagement with the cultural sector over the coming decade. Submissions highlighted the need for the policy to reset the agenda, establish a framework within which the cultural sector can maximise its impact in all aspects of social and economic life, and set out pathways for sustainability.
The submissions profile a sector that is engaged, capable and ready to take advantage of opportunities. Artists, organisations and community groups provided well-researched, well-thought out ideas of the types of strategies and projects that might be used to achieve the goal of placing arts and culture front and centre in our national life. They reflect an understanding of culture as created and consumed locally and globally, highlight the benefit of cultural diversity to Australian society and highlight the need for new ways of thinking about how governments can best enable artistic and cultural development, communication and connection with 21st century communities.
The major themes that emerged through this process are explored below and connected to the direction and scope of the policy.
A significant number of submissions asked for an independent goal to recognise the centrality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures to our national identity—this was an issue raised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and stakeholders. It was strongly felt that our respect for this unique foundation of our identity should both precede and inform the broader cultural diversity that has become a defining characteristic of 21st century Australia.
Australians recognised how critical it is that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and languages be preserved and transmitted for current and future generations, including through their dynamic, contemporary expression. Milyika Carroll, Director of Ananguku Arts, said, ‘[w]hen Cook arrived Anangu tjuta (Aboriginal peoples) had a strong culture. There was painting in the caves and body art. Now we create new works.’ Submissions emphasised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultures are not static; they are constantly evolving, reflecting an ancient history and the perspectives of current generations. They are diverse, interrelated and continuous.
Creative Australia reflects this feedback through the incorporation of a new goal which recognises and celebrates the centrality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures to Australian identity. Realising this goal requires investment in the protection and preservation of traditional cultural expressions and mechanisms that foster the development of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and creative practice.
Many submissions stressed the need for the policy to recognise the role of artists as the source of creativity and to provide ongoing, innovative and appropriate support to ensure that exceptional artists are able to realise their potential in careers that span a lifetime. Rupert Myer stated:
‘… [t]he policy should recognise and reinforce the centrality of the artist—in whatever art form or industry—in the ecology of creative organisations, agencies and cultural institutions.’
As noted in New Models, New Money: A Foundation for the Artist:
… the Artists are the research scientists of the creative economy—the creative individual continues to be the core element in our rich and varied cultural life. Whether working as a professional or supporting their creative practice through a day job, the role of the arts and the creative worker is as the ‘research scientist’ in the creative economy.
This policy recognises the rights of creators and supports the role of Australian artists, and their creative collaborators, as the source of creativity and new innovative ideas through continued support, promotion and encouragement of works of artistic excellence, and establishment of career pathways.
Another key theme among submissions, particularly those from the cultural heritage sector, was the central role that Australia’s collecting institutions—galleries, libraries, archives and museums—play in our cultural life. Respondents called for a greater appreciation in the national cultural policy of the important role these institutions play, not just as repositories of information and places of research, but as social hubs which build community engagement and social inclusion at local, regional, state and national levels. This is perhaps most notable in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres, which are often at the heart of community life and which at times support activities beyond arts and culture, including preventative health, youth services and after-school holiday programs. For example, Museums Australia noted that:
‘As primary custodians and exhibitors of Australia’s heritage, on behalf of the diverse social communities that make up our nation, museums and galleries are expert public communicators. They daily enable and animate the cultural conversations that configure people’s self-awareness of belonging to a single nation. In turn, museums’ resources, exhibitions and public programs project the distinctive achievements, creativity and cultural identity of Australians internationally, engaging both virtual and actual visitors and audiences.’
Submissions noted the success of initiatives such as the 2012 National Year of Reading, which tap into the community, leveraging potential of local institutions such as libraries.
Submissions identified the importance of progressing the digitisation of our national collections to ensure they are preserved for future generations and accessible to all. For example, the National Museum of Australia noted that:
‘Australia’s collections need to be available online for all Australians. It is a fundamental part of social inclusion and of paramount importance in bridging the digital divide. At the National Museum of Australia, the key to liberating content and bringing collections to life is the Museum’s capacity to digitise the collection in new and innovative ways so audiences can interact with the Museum online, onsite and offsite.’
Access remains an important priority for institutions, and submissions highlighted the opportunities that digitisation and the National Broadband Network present to achieve national access to collections. In particular, online access to the collections of the National Collecting Institutions will ensure that these assets, which are held on behalf of all Australians, are truly accessible by all Australians.
The major contribution made by the army of volunteers who staff and maintain galleries, libraries, archives and museums across Australia was also highlighted, reflecting the commitment of Australians to communicating the stories that can be told through our collections to others, including young Australians. As Museums and Galleries New South Wales noted:
‘This sector in New South Wales comprises over 630 museums, galleries and Aboriginal keeping places/cultural centres of which over 400 are totally volunteer managed and operated. Thirty eight galleries and 37 museums are staffed by local government personnel. There are more than 400 staff working in the small to medium sector across New South Wales alongside more than 4000 volunteers.’
Creative Australia responds to these key messages around cultural heritage through clear articulation of the important role the sectors play as repositories of information, centres for engagement and sources of inspiration and innovation. It focuses on increasing access to our national collections and activities to ensure they are a central part of the development of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts.
The policy also notes the existing Australian Government investment in improving and upgrading cultural infrastructure. This includes school libraries, through the Building the Education Revolution, and regional cultural facilities, through the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program, Regional Development Australia Fund, Community Infrastructure Grants Program, Better Regions, and the East Kimberley Development Package.
Building capacity 10.7
Submissions highlighted that sustained access to, and participation in, an education rich in the arts at all ages was essential, noting the vital importance of arts in the Australian curriculum.
A number of submissions highlighted the fact that an arts education teaches students skills that are useful across arts and non-arts careers. Saul Eslake, Chief Economist for Australia and New Zealand at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was quoted in the submission by the Australia Business Arts Foundation:
‘… the arts embody skills and attitudes that are increasingly called for in business; critical thinking; the ability to challenge conventional wisdom and think outside the square, to look at familiar objects from new angles, to innovate with new media, new forms, and new technology; to borrow and adapt from things that work in other settings.’
While jobs requiring artistic skills are likely to increase, submissions highlighted a number of areas requiring further attention to build the best pathways to employment. The Music Council, for example, noted its concerns about a perceived ‘crisis in arts education’ from early childhood to tertiary and, while welcoming the Australian Curriculum: the Arts, pointed to the need to ensure it is supported by adequate numbers of appropriately trained teachers. Submissions further noted that pathways for employment for those undertaking specialist educations in national training institutions, universities and colleges, needs further attention. For example, the Australian Film, Television and Radio School suggested the need to ensure pathways to employment were available for graduates, including mandatory trainee positions on projects receiving government funding.
Creative Australia acknowledges the importance of support for arts education and training, from preschool to professional practice. The Australian Government has committed to work with state, territory and non-government education authorities to implement the Australian Curriculum: The Arts, which will see the implementation of a universal arts education for Foundation to Year 10 in Australia. The need for individual capacity building is the essence of goal three of this policy, which recognises the need for clear career pathways for professional practice and opportunities to develop the next generation of cultural leaders.
Many submissions argued that the development of this policy provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the Australian Government to develop a strategic and coordinated approach to building resilience and capacity in the arts sector.
Submissions called for a clearer delineation of roles between governments, funding agencies, commercial and not-for-profit organisations and the need to encourage collaboration between different artforms, organisations, agencies and individuals—‘joining the dots’ across the sector. In this vein, the opportunities of high-speed broadband for the creation and communication of creative products was a focus of attention.
Submissions also noted the need for a broad coordination of policies across the Australian Government to support, encourage and monitor arts and culture sectors. This includes in relation to taxation, philanthropy and funding; intellectual property and copyright; digitisation; research and data; and education. Submissions also noted the need for a whole-of-government agenda which would harness the power of arts and culture in achieving other objectives across government, including in education, innovation, digital communication, closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage, social inclusion, diplomacy and health. In particular, submissions noted the need to recognise the multicultural makeup of Australia in the ways and means by which the government supports the arts into the future.
Alysha Herrmann, a community arts worker in South Australia, wrote;
‘… luckily for me I became accidently involved in a community arts performance project for young mothers when I was nineteen. That project was called Random Girls and was a partnership between Vitalstatistix and Riverland Youth Theatre … [and it] completely changed the trajectory of my life … I’ve been working ever since to create opportunities for others to lift their voice beyond the borders they believe it to have.’
This policy responds to the need for a strategic approach to activity and a flexible approach to funding in a number of ways. By its nature, one of the greatest outcomes of Creative Australia will be a greater level of strategic coordination in relation to arts and cultural activities. The Australian Government will work to increase whole-of-government coordination at federal level and at state, territory and local government levels, through the development of a National Arts and Culture Accord. But the policy also creates a focal point for the sector to increase its own level of coordination and collaboration.
Engaging globally 10.9
For many individual artists and organisations, the importance of international engagement—to test work in a wider context, to learn from other cultures, and to gain access to bigger markets—is essential. Submissions considered ways in which the investment already made by the Australia Council, and through Austrade, Tourism Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, could be enhanced by strengthening regional and bilateral cultural exchanges and agreements.
AsiaLink Arts identified the need for a more purposeful approach to international engagement, suggesting priorities to ensure cultural engagement flourishes in the Asian Century. It emphasised the importance of professional development, education and internships to develop future leaders; international hubs, located in country, to support Australian artists and companies; and program support to assist Australian institutions tour exhibitions internationally to build markets, enhance employment and increase understanding.
Our increasing international engagement is a key driver behind the development of this policy. Goal five recognises the opportunity this engagement presents, particularly in light of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, which sees us shift our focus to our immediate region. Initiatives such as the National Broadband Network will assist to create the conditions for producing high-quality content that engages a global audience.
The 2012 review of the Australian Government’s major arts funding body the Australia Council by Angus James and Gabrielle Trainor made 18 recommendations for reform to ensure the Australia Council is best-placed to respond to the arts and culture sector of today and into the future.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 1
The Review finds that Nugget Coombs’ original vision for the Council is still relevant but needs to be updated to reflect the Council’s place in a 21st century Australia and a contemporary arts sector. It must be communicated clearly, and be used to inform the Council’s Strategic Priorities and Key Performance Indicators, that are agreed to by the Minister for the Arts. The measure that is implicit in this vision is that of ‘excellence’, and this continues to be the Council’s benchmark for the work it supports.
The Review recommends that a new purpose for the Council be expressed as follows:
To support and promote vibrant and distinctively Australian creative arts practice that is recognised nationally and internationally as excellent in its field.
This purpose should be supported by four principles for the Council. These are to:
- support work of excellence, at all stages of the artistic life cycle;
- promote an arts sector that is distinctively Australian;
- ensure that the work it supports has an audience or market; and
- maximise the social and economic contribution made by the arts sector to Australia.
The purpose should also be supported by a clear statement of its functions under its legislative mandate, which would include:
- to administer and measure the impact of funding to artists and arts organisations in a manner which achieves high accountability standards;
- to undertake and commission research and advocate for Australian arts to promote the sector and to better inform policy decisions; and
- to support and promote professional development and cultural leadership in the Australian arts sector.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED IN PRINCIPLE
The recommended purpose for the Council preserves the important principle of making decisions on grants at arm’s length from government and sets out a clear and contemporary statement about the Australian Government’s goals for Australia’s arts sector in the 21st century.
The four principles which sit under the new purpose provide guidance for how implementation of the Council’s purpose should be measured and reported on. This will assist to give clarity about the Council’s activities, both to the Australian Government and the arts sector.
The Council’s purpose will be defined by the functions drafted for incorporation in the Council’s new enabling legislation.
It is important to note that while the Government endorses the broad direction of a high level strategic plan, the Government plays no role in determining the allocation of funding across genre or artform or deciding individual grants.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 2
This statement of purpose should be supported by a three year Strategic Plan, agreed with the Minister, which defines the KPIs against which the Council should be measured.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The strategic planning obligations of Commonwealth statutory agencies are set out in their enabling legislation. Consistent with this practice, the Council’s new enabling legislation will require it to prepare a strategic plan at least once a year, with the plan to cover up to a period of up to four years. The strategic plan will be required to set out:
- The objectives the Council will pursue in the performance of its legislated functions;
- The strategies and policies that the Council will adopt to achieve those objectives;
- Performance indicators for assessment of the Council’s performance of its functions;
- The investment and financing programs of the Council, including strategies for managing financial risk;
- The financial targets and projections for the Council;
- An analysis of factors likely to affect achievement of targets or create significant financial risk for the Council or for the Commonwealth; and
- A review of performance since the start of the year previous to the year in which the plan is prepared, measured against the most recent plan for any part of that period.
The Council’s strategic plan must be given to the Minister for his or her endorsement before the start of the period to which the plan relates. The Council will be able to vary the strategic plan as required, and in doing so would seek the minister’s approval of any variation.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 3
The Review recommends that the Council work to remove duplication through the merger of the Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) and the Artsupport program as recommended by the Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts undertaken by Mr Harold Mitchell AC in 2011. However, this Review recommends the merged functions should sit within the Australia Council, subject to the resolution of the taxation issues surrounding transfer of the Australia Cultural Fund which is administered by AbaF.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
As announced in the 2012-13 Budget Papers, the Government has agreed to amalgamate AbaF and Artsupport. In February 2013, the Government launched the new merged agency, Creative Partnerships Australia, a one-stop-shop for the encouragement of private giving, social investment and philanthropy for the arts. CPA will also explore new models of support for the arts and build partnerships between artists, business, private donors and the community to support the arts.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 4
The Review recommends that the Council and the Office for the Arts undertake a joint program audit. This audit would take account of the Council’s new purpose and apply the excellence versus access filter to current programs. The agreed program split would then be the subject of sector consultation, before implementation.
- The Council is best placed to focus its resources on supporting and recognising excellence in Indigenous arts practice and Office for the Arts is best placed to support access to Indigenous arts practice, with its attendant, wider social and economic objectives, in community.
- A similar principle to that above may also apply to community arts projects.
- The audit must include assessment of touring programs. The Council should administer those programs which focus on work of excellence and Office for the Arts on those which promote access to artistic product.
- Service delivery, wherever possible, should be devolved to the sector.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED IN PRINCIPLE
The Government notes that a joint program audit has been completed which will be updated based on the Council’s new Act, on the basis that this legislative mandate is the filter through which Council’s role and program delivery is determined. The Council and the Office for the Arts will work together to ensure clarity for applicants about which agency – either the Council or the Office for the Arts – they should apply to for funding.
On 22 August 2012, the Government announced the transfer of six programs from Office for the Arts to the Australia Council – Playing Australia, Visions of Australia, Festivals Australia, Contemporary Touring Initiative, Contemporary Music Touring Program and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy.
The decision to transfer the administration of these programs to the Australia Council has been taken in the context of the wide-ranging discussion and consultation about the future of arts and culture sectors undertaken to inform the development of the national cultural policy and the Review of the Australia Council.
The transfer of programs will contribute to delivering on the goals of the national cultural policy—it preserves the principles of arm’s-length decision making and peer review in relation to arts funding; it consolidates most Australian Government arts funding with the Australia Council; and it will improve the service to the arts sector by providing the sector with a single source of funding with consistent application and reporting processes.
The Office for the Arts will work with the Council to ensure the seamless transfer of administrative responsibility for these programs in order to cause minimal disruption for current grant recipients and applicants for current funding rounds.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 5
The Review recommends that the Council work to grow the Council’s linkages. The Review:
(a) concludes that the Council has a clear and important role in supporting professional development in the arts sector as part of its remit to support works of artistic excellence. To this end, the Review recommends the Council become a member of the Australian Roundtable for Arts Training Excellence in order to engage more directly with the national Arts Training Organisations. The Council’s support in the professional development area should extend to supporting strategic initiatives in the sector as well as specific programs of support. Particular initiatives identified through the Review’s consultations for further investigation include:
- the development of a ‘mentor bank’, matching expertise (both artistic and administrative) in major and key organisations with small-to-medium organisations in need of professional development assistance, and
- an information portal providing information on jobs, training, education and professional development opportunities for young and emerging artists, especially those that support business development and management and cultural leadership in the arts context.
(b) recommends more regular and formal dialogue with other arts agencies, especially the national collecting institutions, to promote collaboration and to better leverage the role and value of the collections as part of the sector; and
(c) recommends the Council diversify its approach to investing in international engagement and cultural exchange, with a sustained emphasis on the Asian region.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government agrees that the Council must work to expand its linkages both across the Australian Government arts portfolio and with government arts agencies in the state and territory governments.
Implementation of this recommendation will be the responsibility of the Council’s Governing Board. The recommended activities will need to be considered by the Board in the development of its new strategic plan.
The Board will also be required to identify a process for more regular and formal dialogue with other Australian Government arts and cultural agencies as part of its planning development process.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 6
In order to facilitate implementation of the new purpose for the Council, the Review recommends that the Australian Government provide additional funding of $21.25 million per annum to the Council to cover current funding pressures and changes to its purpose as follows:
- Research and Advocacy—the provision of this additional funding will be tied to a Key Performance Indicator as agreed with the Minister. Funding is to be used by the Council to develop a detailed and systematic data collection program for the benefit of the Australian Government and the sector as a whole (much the same as that undertaken by Screen Australia, including an annual ‘state of the industry’ report). Additional funding of $1 million per annum would enable this work to take place.
- The Council to act as a funding generator —the Council’s role in developing funding to the arts from the sector could be enhanced through the addition of a ‘commercial’ funding program allowing the Council to develop new models of funding for the sector, such as micro-loans and matching programs. Additional funding of $3 million per annum would enable the Council to establish a pilot program rolling out new models of funding.
- Major Performing Arts contestable fund—top-up funding to the Council of $1.25 million per annum as the Australian Government contribution to establish a $2.5 million excellence funding pool available to Major Performing Arts organisations on a competitive basis, to reward outstanding performance in fulfilling Major Performing Arts goals with criteria to be determined as part of the opening up of the Major Performing Arts organisations to broader peer review.
- Unfunded excellence—as discussed above, the Council has identified significant levels of unfunded excellence among its current application base. On the basis of estimates that unfunded excellence for the Council is about $15 million, this Review proposes top-up funding of this amount to meet this growing gap in the sector.
- Professional development—the Council has an important role in building the professional capacity of the arts sector. Funding of $1 million per annum will assist the Council to develop, in collaboration with training and development providers and private sector mentors, formal programs of professional development for arts sector managers and cultural leaders. This will also fund the investigation and early development of an arts careers information portal and a mentor bank to provide opportunity and expert support for those who work in the sector.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government agrees to the provision of additional funding to enable the Australia Council to carry out its new purpose and functions, and to meet existing needs.
Specifically the Government will provide $75.3 million over four years commencing from 2013–14 for this purpose. This includes:
- $1 million per annum to develop and implement a detailed and systematic data collection program for the benefit of the Australian Government and the sector as a whole.
- $1.25 million per annum to harness excellence in the major performing arts companies and allow them to address strategic priorities of national significance, with the funding to leverage additional matched funding from state and territory governments;
- $15 million per annum as additional funding across a range of art forms to address an identified significant level of ‘unfunded excellence’ among the Council’s current application base for established, emerging and hybrid art forms; and
- $1 million per annum to build the professional capacity of the arts sector through training and development of providers and private sector mentors, formal programs of professional development for arts sector managers and cultural leaders, and the investigation and development of services to support employment and careers in the arts sector.
The Government also agrees to provide new funding to support ‘commercial’ funding programs that will develop new models of funding for the sector, such as micro-loans and matching programs. However, as these programs fall within the scope of responsibilities of the new private sector support agency, Creative Partnerships Australia, funding support for these initiatives will be addressed through the Government response to the Mitchell Review. Any further funding for the Council will need to be considered in the context of future budgets.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 7
The Review recommends that, in order to provide the Council with increased funding flexibility, the Australian Government pursue with the states and territories the opening up of the MPA Framework to allow for competitive funding based on peer review.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED IN PRINCIPLE
The Australian Government notes that peer review provides a mechanism for informed evaluation and assessment of artform specific funding applications which can be effective in helping to enhance artistic standards and competitiveness.
The Major Performing Arts funding framework, agreed to by the Meeting of Cultural Ministers in August 2011, outlines a commitment by all governments in Australia to fund the 28 Major Performing Arts companies. This framework outlines incentives to encourage and reward artistic success.
Any change to the existing or future frameworks will take place in negotiation with state and territory governments.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 8
To arrest the erosion of the Council’s funding base, the Review also recommends exempting the Council from any further application of the efficiency dividend.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: NOTED
Australian Government policy is that all agencies, with few exceptions, are subject to the annual efficiency dividend, which is designed to improve administrative efficiency by Australian Government agencies. Any request for exemption from the efficiency dividend will need to be considered in the context of future budgets.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 9
The Review recommends that new enabling legislation for the Council clearly provide for a conventional, skills-based Governing Board. The new Act should limit membership of the Board to nine, with all appointments made by the Minister after receiving advice from the Chair. The Chair should be appointed by the Minister. The Board should be composed primarily of people with a deep experience in and passion for artistic practice who can bring a balanced blend of skills and expertise to the Council and through it, to Australia’s cultural life.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government agrees that the introduction of a more conventional Board structure as recommended by the Review will assist the Council to improve its strategic planning and governance processes, and will more appropriately meet its long-term operational needs. This reform will be complemented by the reform of the Council’s administrative structure as recommended by the Review. The Government will consult with the Council regarding the appropriate skills mix required for the new governing board.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 10
The Review recommends that this new Board set its direction and develop its vision with management through its strategic planning processes. Its Board sub-committees (for example, Audit, Finance, Risk, Nominations) should operate to contribute to the governance of the organisation but not to approve funding or dictate the Council’s strategic priorities.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government supports a standard governance approach across agencies governed under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies 1997. Recommendation 10 is in line with such an approach.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 11
The Review recommends that the CEO should be appointed by the Board following consultation and agreement with the Minister.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
Recommendation 11 brings the Council in line with more contemporary legislation for agencies governed under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies 1997. Consistent with good governance arrangements, the CEO will be accountable to the Board.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 12
Sector Advisory Panels, which would be the principal agents for engagement with the artforms and custodians of artform practice within the sector, should support and inform the work of the new Board and management, as directed by that Board. Specifically, the Panels should provide sectoral expertise and advise on and inform the Strategic Priorities of the Board. The Board may constitute any number of Advisory Panels and determine their mandates based on the needs of the Board in developing and executing its Strategic Priorities. It may conclude the activities of any Panel as it sees fit.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
Implementation of recommendation 12 will ensure that artform expertise is available to advise the Council’s new Governing Board and to inform its strategic directions.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 13
A new governance structure for the Council should be put in place that allows for clear lines of responsibility and function for the Board and executive under the Minister, in consultation with Office for the Arts. New operational structures for the Council’s executive and staff may flow from the implementation of this model.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Australian Government agrees to the implementation of a new governance structure for the Council including clearer lines of communication between the Governing Board and the Government. Implementation of the new governance structure will be subject to consultation as recommended below, and will ultimately be a decision for the new Governing Board.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 14
The Review recommends that a new model for grant allocation be implemented that:
a) Replaces the standing Artform Board structure with a general stream for grant applications across all artforms; and
b) Maintains the centrality of peer assessment but promotes flexibility and breadth by adopting, but adapting, the model employed by the Canada Council for the Arts that allows for more peers to become involved in assessment and thereby diversifying the mix of peers.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED IN PRINCIPLE
The Government agrees with the broad principles contained in the grants assessment model recommended by the Review. The Government agrees that the Council should adopt a flexible approach to providing peer‑assessed grants funding to the sector which enables it to change and adapt the manner in which it receives and assesses applications for funding in future.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 15
To support these reforms the Review recommends a new operational structure for the Council which would cover key areas recommended by the Review. These aspects of the Council’s recommended governance structure are included to show how the Board and Executive would interact, especially noting the role of the Sector Advisory Panels.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: NOTED
The Government notes the suggested operational structure. However, implementation of this recommendation will be the responsibility of the Council’s Governing Board.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 16
The Review recommends community consultation to inform the Council’s finalisation of its new operational structure.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government agrees that the Council should undertake community consultation on implementation of recommended changes to its organisational structure, and encourages the Council to do so. Implementation of this recommendation will be the responsibility of the Council’s Governing Board.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 17
The Review recommends development of an entirely new Act for the Council, based on the templates provided by the enabling legislation for the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and Screen Australia, for introduction to Parliament in the 2014–15 financial year. The new Act should do the following:
a) preserve the principles of operation at arm’s length from government, and peer-based review of funding decisions
b) require the development of a Strategic Plan for every three years, updated annually in the Budget context and agreed by the Minister
c) provide for a new Board for the Council, made up of nine members all appointed by the Minister in consultation with the Chair (who will be appointed by the Minister alone). The Act must allow for the appointment of Board members with appropriate skills to meet the Council’s governance needs as well as having strong and demonstrated knowledge of the arts sector.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Australian Government agrees that new legislation is required to enable reform of the Council’s governance and administrative structures, and to implement its new purpose as recommended by the Review. New legislation will provide the Government with the opportunity to ensure significant and lasting reform of the Australia Council. Timing will be subject to Parliamentary processes.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 18
The Review recommends that the Chair’s mandate be to consult further on the proposed changes, specifically through exposure drafts of the new Act and prepare the organisation for the new Act’s implementation as well as facilitate and drive the transition.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED IN PRINCIPLE
It is the Government’s role to prepare legislation and consult with the public as appropriate. It will be important for the Chair of the Council to be actively involved in these consultations and provide feedback to the Government on the views of the arts sector. The form of the final legislation will ultimately be a matter for the Parliament.
The Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts, conducted by Harold Mitchell in 2011, made 10 recommendations to better equip the arts sector and encourage the private sector to support the arts. The Australian Government response to these recomendations follows.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 1
The Review recommends that in order to maximise the opportunity for private and corporate donors to give to the arts:
a. there is a reduction of red tape and timeframes for the Cultural Gifts Program through improvement of all aspects of the process, including the processing of applications, reducing the role of the committee and requiring applicants to obtain one valuation only; and
b. responsibility for the Cultural Gifts Program is transferred to the Australian Taxation Office, with the Australian Valuation Office appointed as the primary valuer for the program and the Office for the Arts maintaining an advisory role.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government supports the recommendation to transfer the Cultural Gifts Program to the Australian Taxation Office. It is anticipated that this will result in a more streamlined application process for donors. Administrative improvements to the program would be undertaken by the ATO following transfer. The Government supports the Office for the Arts maintaining an advisory role in the operation of the program.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 2
The Review recommends that in relation to testamentary giving, that the Australian Government introduce the capacity for private donors to provide a cash gift through their will to an arts organisation, and to receive an immediate taxation benefit to the present value of the gift.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: NOTED
The Government notes that the recommendation requires further discussion across Government. The Assistant Treasurer and the Minister for the Arts have agreed that this proposal would be referred to the Not for Profit Tax Concession Working Group.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 3
The Review recommends that the Australian Government commits funding to support a ‘matched funding for the arts’ initiative.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government agrees to the Review’s recommendation for additional funding to support a ‘matched funding for the arts’ initiative. Specifically the Government will provide $3.0 million in 2013–14 (increasing annually to $4 million in 2014–15) for matched funding programs.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 4
The Review recommends that the Australian Government implements a formal program of recognition for significant donors to the arts.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government acknowledges the importance of public recognition of the generosity of the private sector. Greater levels of recognition of philanthropic support will raise the profile of giving to the arts and stimulate greater levels of philanthropy. The form of recognition will be a matter for the agency responsible for private sector support for the arts (see recommendation 5), and should be consistent with the Government’s other initiatives to support more broadly social investment and philanthropy and be developed in collaboration with the Office for the Not for Profit Sector.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 5
The Review recommends that AbaF and Artsupport be amalgamated under the auspices of a new body with responsibility for all private sector support for the arts in Australia, that this includes reworking existing AbaF and Artsupport programs within the new framework to remove duplication and better coordinate with sector needs, and that the new organisation would be rebranded to reflect the revised structure.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
As announced in the 2012-13 Budget Papers, the Government has agreed to amalgamate AbaF and Artsupport. In February 2013, the Government launched the new merged agency, Creative Partnerships Australia (CPA), a one-stop-shop for the encouragement of private giving, social investment and philanthropy for the arts. CPA will also explore new models of support for the arts and build partnerships between artists, business, private donors and the community to support the arts.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 6
In order to support capacity building and skills development the Review recommends that the new private sector support body should:
a. promote, extend and formalise its advisory services to provide a program of fundraising, sponsorship and philanthropy governance support to small to medium arts organisations, particularly in regional and remote areas;
b. expand its training activities to build the capacity of arts organisations to use their boards to attract and retain private sector support; and
c. work with key arts training organisations to develop resources on seeking and retaining private sector support targeted at students and emerging artists.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government considers it important to provide advisory services to small to medium arts organisations, especially in regional and remote areas. It is important that ongoing training is undertaken to provide organisations, arts students and emerging artists with the necessary skills to attract private sector support. Advisory services and capacity building activities should be consistent with the Government’s other initiatives to reform the Not-for-Profit Sector and to support more broadly social investment and philanthropy and should be developed in collaboration with the Office for the Not-for-Profit Sector.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 7
In relation to the Register of Cultural Organisations, the Review recommends that:
a. the guidelines for the Register of Cultural Organisations are amended to improve the definition of ‘cultural’ to encompass Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages; and
b. responsibility for administration of the Register of Cultural Organisations is transferred to the Australian Taxation Office, with administration to be streamlined in line with other deductible gift recipient categories, and the Office for the Arts to retain an advisory role
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government agrees to consider amendments to the definition of a cultural organisation under the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO) program to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, noting that it requires further discussion across Government about the options for implementation.
The Government agrees to transfer responsibility for the ROCO program to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This move would be in line with other deductible gift recipient categories and allow the application process to be streamlined. Administrative improvements will be undertaken by the ATO following transfer. The Government supports the Office for the Arts maintaining an advisory role in the operation of the program.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 8
The Review also recommends that the Australian Government develops a crowd funding initiative with a matched funding from government component.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE 8: AGREED
The Government agrees with the Review’s recommendation for additional funding to develop a crowd funding initiative with a matched funding from government. Specifically the Government will provide $0.5 million per annum for a crowd funding program.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 9
The Review recommends that the Australian Government provides funding to support a micro-loans scheme for the arts sector.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
The Government agrees with the Review’s recommendation for additional funding to support a micro-loans scheme for the arts sector. Specifically the Government will provide $0.25 million per annum for a micro loan scheme.
REVIEW RECOMMENDATION 10
In relation to cultivating donors, the Review recommends that the Australian Government:
a. conducts an awareness–raising program, targeting financial planners, taxation accountants and estate lawyers, providing information on taxation and testamentary giving incentives available to encourage private sector support for the arts; and
b. establishes a public campaign promoting the benefits of giving to the arts using a series of arts ‘champions’ drawn from the philanthropic, business and arts sectors
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: AGREED
One of the roles of the agency responsible for private sector support for the arts will be to cultivate donors. The Australian Government recognises the importance of promoting the available incentives and promoting the benefits of giving to the arts more generally. A public campaign promoting existing incentives will raise the profile of private sector support for the arts and is expected to encourage greater level of support from philanthropists and the business and arts sectors.