Australia Government Launches New Cultural Initiative
By Denise Wang
On January 30, the Australian labor government, led by prime minister Anthony Albanese, announced the new cultural policy “Revive,” which aims to comprehensively activate Australia’s arts and cultural industry. Australia Council for the Arts, rebranded as Creative Australia, will manage the AUD 286 million (USD 198 million) funds in the next four years.
The funds will be used to promote the development of a variety of cultural sectors, including but not limited to literature, music, and art. “Revive” mainly reintroduces the Australia Council as Creative Australia, which will expand on the Council’s work and oversee four new governmental bodies: Music Australia, which supports the country’s contemporary music industry; Writers Australia, which encourages writers and illustrators to create new works; Centre for Arts and Entertainment Workplaces, which is tasked to secure fair payments and safe working environments; and a new First Nations-led department that allows Indigenous people to partake in decision-making and investment.
With a primary focus on helping the development of Indigenous culture, “Revive” will introduce legislation to protect Indigenous knowledge and heritage, such as preventing the sale of fake art on the market; develop a First Nations creative workforce strategy; provide funds for the establishment of a National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs and an Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Perth; and launch an AUD 11 million (USD 7.6 million) First Nations Languages Policy Partnership between First Nations representatives and Australian governments. Other measures of “Revive” include the regulation of Australian content on streaming platforms; improvement of rights and incomes for Australian writers; financial support for regional art; among others.
The decision came after recent disputes over budget cuts and unfair distribution of funds across several cultural sectors in Australia, which received criticism over the past few years. Many cultural professionals, such as Evelyn Richardson, CEO of Live Performance Australia, considers the new funding policy a decision that the industry has waited for long. Others, such as shadow minister for the arts Paul Fletcher, suspect the real effects of “Revive” as the funding comes in a rush while there are “many questions unanswered.”
Denise Wang is ArtAsiaPacific’s editorial intern.