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National Young People and Culture Plan

A key plank of TNA’s Submission to the federal Inquiry into Creative Industries and Institutions is a call for an investment in Australia’s youth arts and arts for young audiences sectors. This would offer the Federal Government an effective, affordable opportunity to address pressing cross portfolio issues. 

The young people of Australia are facing devastating issues post COVID, with severe negative impacts on employment, mental health, resilience and feeling connected and engaged as participants in their community and wider Australian society.

An investment in Australia’s youth arts and arts for young audiences sectors would offer the Federal Government an effective, affordable opportunity to address pressing cross portfolio issues. We support the development of a funded Young People and Culture Plan driven and implemented by the Australia Council for the Arts. 

Supporting Young People’s Engagement in Arts and Culture

The Australia Council’s 2020 National Arts Participation survey asked nearly 9000 Australiansabout their attitudes and their arts engagement [1]. The following findings show the clear benefit of supporting young people’s engagement in arts and culture:

Three quarters of Australians prioritise the important role arts and creativity play in the lives of children and young people and their learning and development (74% ranked this in their top three priorities for public or private investment). 

Almost all young Australians aged 15–24 years recognise the positive impacts of arts and creativity in our lives and communities (91%). Young Australians are highly engaged – four in five attend arts events (83%), including live music (66%) and festivals (61%). One in two young Australians connect with their culture and community through arts and creativity (53%) and two in three creatively participate in the arts (66%). 

The majority of young Australians agree First Nations arts are an important part of Australia’s culture (76%) and 47% attend First Nations arts or festivals. The vast majority of young Australians read for pleasure (73%); stream music, either paid (60%) or for free (70%); and use digital platforms to explore (84%) or express creativity (62%). 

Being involved in arts and cultural activity has a powerful impact on young people’s educational outcomes[2]. Young people involved in the arts: achieve better grades and overall test scores across all subjects including in Mathematics and Reading; are less likely to drop out of school; demonstrate greater resilience in coping with challenges; and have increased self-worth, self-confidence and sense of wellbeing. 

Invest in a Young People and Culture Plan

A cross-portfolio investment combining Arts, Health, Regional Development, Social Services, Emergency Management and Education has the capacity to deliver outcomes across portfolios whilst supporting Australia’s professional artists, children, young people and disadvantaged communities. The youth arts and arts for young audiences sector employs professional artists to engage with communities. These are fiscally lean organisations with minimal overheads whose principal expenses are wages for contract and permanent staff. 

The benefits of a new investment in a Young People and Culture Plan would:

·      Directly support the mental health and resilience of young Australians,

·      Deliver programs that strengthen communities and build community cohesion,

·      Prioritise and increase access and inclusion for underrepresented and disadvantaged young people,

·      Support contractors and small businesses most affected by the COVID shutdown,

·      Build community projects that foster confidence and community connection,

·      Provide young people an active voice in their community’s disaster recovery,

·      Increase innovation and agility in the entire arts sector,

·      Generate creative thinkers, arts consumers and audiences from the grass roots, and

·      Provide employment and stimulate the economy.

An investment of $15 million per year for four years from 2022 – 2025 to engage young Australians in arts-based community projects could include the following initiatives. 

Young People and Culture Plan – InitiativesInvestment
An investment in companies creating and touring work for young Australians with incentives and support to engage regional and disadvantaged communities;$6million p/a
An investment in companies and community organisations to engage professional artists to work with young people to respond to community needs;$1m – $2m p/a
A collaboration with the Department of Education to trial embedding creative programs across curriculum in public schools to increase retention and academic achievement;$3million p/a
An initiative to fund partnerships between youth arts companies, adult companies and major venues to create new Australian work for inter-generational audiences; and$3million p/a
Funding toward researching the outcomes of this investment in the civic life of participating communities.$1m – $2m p/a

This investment would increase opportunities for Australian children and young people to experience arts and culture; enhance their development and overall well-being as well as help build social and personal capabilities that will aid young people throughout their lives. 


[2]Fiske, E, 1999. Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning; ANA Report 2,

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