Creative Australia: Australian Government Invests in Culture

Cultural Sector Economics News

“It’s not just the employment they bring, I see the artist as central to us as a nation and to securing its future”. Simon Crean, Australia Federal Arts Minister, announced in March that a $235 million envelope of newfunding for the cultural sector would be secured. Indeed for the first time in nearly 20 years Australia has given a significant boost to its national cultural policy. This new federal programme is called ‘Creative Australia’.

This new cultural policy is built around the following five goals: recognising the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, ensuring public support of the arts is equitable, supporting artists, strengthening the cultural sector in the economy and encouraging innovation and creative industries.

The key element of Creative Australia is the long awaited reform of the Australia Council for the Arts. The organisation will receive $75 million and will have to reduce red tape and modernise its governance. Creative Australia will also include a 30 per cent funding increase to 20.8 million for six elite training organisations including the West Australian Ballet and the Malthouse Theatre. An additional $20 million fund shall be allocated to the screen industry in order to attract international productions.

The Australian member of FIA, the Equity branch of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, welcomes the launch of this national cultural policy. It stresses however that, though Creative Australia can be seen as an example of commitment to culture and its promising industry, the lack of a permanent increase to the location offset is to be noted. Indeed, because of its strong money and of the competition of other countries, international productions have tended lately to desert Australia. Incentives schemes appear as a good solution.

In accordance with its 3rd resolution of the Toronto Congress about public funding of the arts, FIA warmly welcomes the Australian initiative of increasing funds for the cultural sector. It appears as a positive signal when most of the governments use the crisis as a pretext to diminish their investment in public funding of culture.

You can download the Equity MEAA press release here below.

MEAA Press Release on Creative Australia

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