The Federal Government’s Creative Australia policy is the first cultural policy since former prime minister Paul Keating unveiled Creative Nation in 1994. In making the announcement at the National Press Club in Canberra, Mr Crean said the policy would strengthen, sustain and grow the economy.
The fund aims to support young people wanting to enter the arts sector and provide funding to existing performance arts companies. It also includes an update of the National Indigenous Languages Policy and $14 million over four years to develop community-driven language resources and activities.
The funding is reminiscent of Paul Keating’s Big Picture policy and includes $8.6 million for Partnerships Australia, $9.3 million for six major performing arts companies, including the Bangarra Dance Company, the Belvoir Theatre, Black Swan State Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, Circus Oz and the West Australian Ballet. $75.3 million will be put towards a restructure of the 40-year-old Australia Council ::::
“This is the significance of cultural policy. It crosses so many other areas. It’s the closing the gap, it’s the social inclusion, it’s the innovation, it’s education, but how do you respect a culture and how do you express it unless you invest in its language?” Mr Crean said. “We do not develop as a society unless our creative sectors themselves develop. So the artist in many ways is at the centre of creativity and a creative society is the key to a competitive globally engaged economy,” he said.
Mr Crean also outlined plans to spend just under $3.5 million setting up a body called ArtsReady, which will be modelled on the AFL SportsReady program and give young Australians access to traineeships in the arts.
“It starts by developing that passion that young people innately have. They have a passion for both the sports and the arts. So we’ve got to find better ways in which we tap that passion early, nurture it and create an environment in which people can go on and pursue the pathway,” Mr Crean said.
He says the fund recognises huge growth in the creative sector, as well as the contributions the creative sector makes to technological and social advancements. Mr Crean says that innovation wouldn’t be possible without the diverse talents that come from within the arts.
“It’s a sector that’s growing at almost double the rate of other sectors in the economy,” Mr Crean said. “This is where the jobs are because it’s where economies and societies are demanding not just this for entertainment, but for development, for expression and for innovation and for new applications. The other aspect, of course, is the connection to the technology. As we move to the digital age far more opportunities to develop careers in this.”
The funding includes $8.6 million for Partnerships Australia as well as $9.3 million for six major performing arts companies, including the Bangarra Dance Company, the Belvoir Theatre, Black Swan State Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, Circus Oz and the West Australian Ballet.
Mr Crean says $75.3 million will be put towards a restructure of the 40-year-old Australia Council.
“The Australian Government will immediately implement structural reforms to the Australia Council so that it is resourced, re-focused and renewed,” Mr Crean said. “The Australia Council will be a more responsive funding body with a new purpose to support and develop artistic excellence, distinctively Australian, wherever it is found and across the art forms as they develop in the 21st century.”