A rich cultural life for all Australians
Art and culture is a fundamental part of living in a vibrant democracy like Australia. Australians value cultural participation. We have globally high rates of cultural attendance and direct creative participation is growing, especially among young people. A growing body of research shows creative engagement has wide-ranging cultural, economic and social benefits, from improving health and mitigating loneliness to forging social cohesion and fostering innovation. Recent sentiment studies have shown that the Australian community believe arts, culture and creativity have a binding effect in the face of disruption and dislocation. Australians see access to arts and culture as part of the Australian way of life; they believe that without it we ‘may as well live on Mars’.
Many Australians enjoy a rich cultural life but not always equally. There remain barriers for some associated primarily with access and relevance due to factors including geography, costs and social issues such as exposure, language barriers and physical access. Without strategic and coordinated effort, Australia risks deterioration in our cultural fabric and loss of the benefits it provides.
Reimagining cultural policy in Australia
For all Australians to access the benefits of arts, culture and creativity, we require a policy and investment environment that fosters access and participation as well as relevant and sustainable industries. A New Approach highlighted the opportunity and pathway for change in our 2021 Analysis Paper Imagining 2030: Preparing for a National Arts, Culture and Creativity Plan.
Bipartisan support for a national cultural framework or plan was secured in October 2021 in the Sculpting a National Cultural Plan report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s Cultural and Creative Industries and Institutions by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts.
The report asserts a bipartisan understanding of the diverse benefits of arts and cultural participation in Australia and the valued role that it plays in the lives of all Australians. It recommended the development of a national cultural plan as a strategic policy priority. On 1 July 2022, the federal government announced a consultation process to inform development of a national cultural policy, which was launched in January 2023.
Australia’s cultural policies
All federal, state and territory and local governments have examined cultural policy over the last decade. The most recent public versions of their policies are here:
- Local Government Arts and Culture Policy Position, Australian Local Government Association 2020
- Australian Capital Territory: Canberra: Australia’s Arts Capital Arts, Culture and Creative Policy 2022-2026
- New South Wales: Create in NSW: NSW Arts and Cultural Policy Framework (2015)
- Northern Territory: Creative Industries Strategy NT 2020-2024
- Queensland: Creative Together 2020–2030: A 10-Year Roadmap for arts, culture and creativity in Queensland
- South Australia: Arts & Culture Plan South Australia 2019 – 2024 and Growth State: Creative Industries Strategy
- Tasmania: Cultural and Creative Industries recovery strategy: 2020 and Beyond
- Victoria: Creative State 2025
- Western Australia: Strategic Directions 2016-2031 and WA Creative Industries: An Economic Snapshot (2019)
- Federal Government: Revive: Australia’s cultural policy for the next five years
Becoming a cultural powerhouse
A New Approach acknowledges that it meets, works and travels on the lands of First Nations peoples. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and to all First Nations peoples.