A coalition of peak arts bodies has written to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urging him to ‘support full investment’ in the Federal Government’s soon-to-be released National Cultural Policy.
The letter is signed by 20 organisations from multiple sectors, including screen, literature, live performance, First Nations and the visual arts.
Nicole Beyer, Executive Director of Theatre Network Australia, told ArtsHub that the call to support full investment in the National Cultural Policy includes financial investment, but also investment and commitment across other areas.
‘In a lot of peak bodies’ budget bids we called for the return of $130 million to the Australia Council, and that just addresses the funding decline over the past decade … But there’s also investment in legislative changes, such as artists being recognised as professionals through Centrelink for example; investment in government agencies to embed creative solutions in their work, and that will require a whole-of-government approach across portfolios,’ Beyer said.
Working across government to ‘address tough problems’ will require additional investments of a different kind, Beyer continued.
‘We know creativity has a huge role to play in education, wellbeing, regional development, in disaster recovery, in health etc. And we think that it would be great for the Policy to outline a framework for that exchange. So is that roundtables of peak bodies in different industries? Is it summits or forums for the cross-fertilisation of ideas across different industries? Committees of bureaucrats from the different industries? Those sorts of things will required investment in time and resources and staffing,’ she explained.
In terms of its aims and initiative, Nicole Beyer expects that the National Cultural Policy will be ‘a pretty ambitious three-to-five year plan and a positive vision’ for the sector, including a focus on First Nations artists, young people, and the current skills shortage affecting the industry.
Reiterating the importance of a positive vision for the sector and the nation, Beyer said: ‘I think that people are really wanting meaningful experiences. I looked at Patternmakers’ latest Audience Outreach Monitor and it proves what we’re seeing on the ground – and what we’re seeing is audiences returning to arts and cultural experiences in droves.
‘And what they’re wanting are new, uplifting and challenging experiences. That’s what the research shows, that’s what people are wanting. And that’s interesting, because of course, that’s what arts and culture does. Art experiences give us hope, and hope is desperately needed after the floods and the fires and the pandemic. So I think now is the time to invest in this National Cultural Policy because the timing is perfect – people are wanting hope.’
The consortium of peak bodies’ letter to the Prime Minister is signed by:
Arts Access Australia
Australian Festival Association
Australian Museums and Galleries Association
Australian Music Centre
Australian Society of Authors
Diversity Arts Australia
First Nations Media
Indigenous Art Code
Live Performance Australia
National Association for the Visual Arts
Performing Arts Connections Australia
Regional Arts Australia
Screen Producers Australia
Symphony Services Australia
Theatre Network Australia
The National Cultural Policy is due to be released by the end of the year.
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