A national cultural policy
In 2010 the Australian Government committed to producing a National Cultural Policy. The Government said it wanted a National Cultural Policy to underpin broader government priorities. They also asked the community for ideas about how it could shape Australia’s future. And in August 2011 they released a discussion paper for public comment.
Most arts organisations made submissions, including Ausdance, ArtsPeak and the National Advocates for Arts Education.
A National Cultural Policy provided an opportunity for
- a whole-of-government approach to defining ‘culture’
- placing Indigenous perspectives at the centre of Australian cultural life (as it does across disciplines in the Australian Curriculum)
- acknowledging and recognising the arts (and artists) as primary creators in a creative economy.
How could a national cultural policy affect your work?
We saw the National Cultural Policy as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve the ambitions set out in Dance Plan 2012.
While the dance community, Ausdance and the Australia Council took responsibility for achieving the ambitions identified in Dance Plan 2012, the Australian government has a role to play. They provide leadership, investment and a coherent cultural policy in which to deliver Dance Plan 2012's outcomes.
Dance Plan 2012's ambitions are interrelated. Each ambition depends on the success of the others. And their combined success would see a rich and diverse Australian dance culture that is sustainable, accessible, innovative and creative.
Success would see
- all young people educated in, through and about dance and the arts
- the best of Australian culture reflected in the work of our professional choreographers
- regular touring—regionally, nationally and internationally.
What did we do?
We made a submission to the National Cultural Policy in 2011, and followed up with meetings to discuss aspects of the policy with the Arts Minister’s office.
We organised a meeting of 30 arts organisations to meet with Arts Minister Simon Crean, who briefed us on the National Cultural Policy and the National Broadband Network and its potential for the arts.
We told political leaders about
- issues affecting the small to medium dance sector
- the demise of SCOPE for Artists and the need to include it in the National Cultural Policy
- an alternative funding model for ‘ArtsReady’, a proposal based on ‘SportsReady’, which seeks to get young people into the sports industry straight from school
What did we ask for?
We asked the government to take a ‘whole of government’ approach (to consider research, health, education and social security agendas). Arts policy made in isolation from these big policy areas has not worked well for artists' sustainability and the viability of the industry as a whole.
We asked for greater investment in building the capacity of the arts industry by increasing productivity and maximising investment in arts training. Programs such as SCOPE for Artists and the Indigenous dance development program Treading the Pathways successfully contributed to artists' career development.
Artists continue to subsidise their work, with continuing low incomes, patchwork careers and periods of unemployment and under-employment. So we suggested a new review into the small to medium performing arts sector and its contribution to the development of the art form.
The research agenda for the arts has had minimal investment, strategic planning and long-term commitment by Australian governments. We believe that there is an urgent need for deep and longitudinal research in the arts, and that a proposal to develop a Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) for Arts and Entertainment Futures is import sector's future