National Cultural Policy meeting outcomes

The meeting was facilitated by Ausdance National President, Professor Susan Street, and included organisations from a diverse range of the arts, education and creative industries. Sue worked with co-convenors of ArtsPeak, Julie Dyson (Ausdance) and Tamara Winikoff (National Association for the Visual Arts) to create a framework of four major principles from the National Cultural Policy that could be agreed to by all arts sectors and would be inclusive of their views. These were: 'Mainstreaming' the arts; the impact of technology; artists' career pathways, and Australia's position in the world, including the promotion of our cultural diversity. This framework gave voice to various views which were shared with the Minister.

In her opening remarks Sue noted the groups' strong support for the National Cultural Policy and congratulated the Minister and his team for its production. She noted that ArtPeak and NAAE were strongly committed to supporting the Minister's efforts, and to sharing ideas and some common concerns as the policy was further developed. She emphasised that the role of the organisations present was to provide leadership, advocacy, brokerage and representation for their constituents.

Mr Crean opened the meeting with several strong points of his own, including a commitment to seeing arts pathways strengthened in schools, the place of the arts in Indigenous communities, and the role the National Broadband Network might play in meeting these goals. He noted that the arts underpin social values and compassion, and strengthen citizenry, and that economic research showed that creative nations are more productive. He commented on several reviews now underway that will inform the direction the National Cultural Policy might take.

After discussion around the four framework principles, the group noted several challenges ahead:

  • The tyranny of divides, e.g. popular culture versus high art, entertainment, creative industries.
  • Negotiating the three tiers of government.
  • Lack of longitudinal research in the arts.
  • The ongoing difficulty of attracting philanthropy and sponsorship to most sectors of arts practice.

Issues of resourcing shared with the Minister included:

  • The ongoing negative impact of the efficiency dividend on cultural institutions.
  • The need to look into current university cluster funding and its impact on arts training courses.
  • Support for a proposal to introduce a 1% levy on the NBN to fund content development.

Sue thanked the Minister for his attendance, noting that he is well respected by the field as an experienced and effective Minister, and that the groups present saw this as a positive moment in the consultation process.