Being cultural powerhouse is within our grasp, but it is up to all of us 

22 November 2023

What do you want your Australia to look like in 2035? That was the question Chair of A New Approach (ANA), Rupert Myer AO, left audiences to consider at the conclusion of his compelling Address to the National Press Club last Wednesday, where he spoke of his ambition for Australia to become a global cultural powerhouse.

Rupert asserted that Australia has a maturing cultural confidence from which all can share and benefit. He called on government, industry, business, philanthropy and media to act with urgency to secure a future in which arts, cultural and creative industries can successfully support the social and economic strategies they directly and positively impact.

In describing a cultural powerhouse, Rupert shared a vision for how Australia can respect and cherish its unique cultural inheritance, invest in its creators and cultural organisations, celebrate its creative industries, enable its citizens to participate in cultural activity, and strategically plan and nurture its creative future in a manner befitting the world’s 12th largest economy.

Rupert urged the members of National Cabinet to recognise fostering cultural and creative activity as an investment, not a cost, and commit to closer collaboration. He suggested the elevation of the existing meeting of Cultural Ministers to a formalised Ministerial Council would be a transformative step in integrating arts and culture across strategies to support health, cohesion, security, sustainability and prosperity.

Rupert also called on government to create a single institution to lead Australia’s international cultural relations. He highlighted that an institution of this type is essential for any mature economy, with Australia being the only nation in the top 15 economies in the world not to have one.

Speaking to business, Rupert highlighted that arts, cultural and creative industries are proven drivers of innovation and invited leaders to more fully embrace Australia’s creative talent. He suggested business should consider cultural sponsorships among their most prized assets, recognising they enhance brand, reputation and value.

Rupert also spoke to the spirit of philanthropy, recognising that no two philanthropic organisations are the same, but all can be enhanced by supporting arts and cultural practice. His advice was to trust the expertise of Australian creators and creative organisations and harness the freedom of philanthropy to work for long-term public benefit.

In closing his address, Rupert urged the nation to recognise that it has a point of difference and to exercise its cultural confidence and creative strength with maturity. He asserted if the nation’s cultural needs are given higher priority, being a cultural powerhouse is well within Australia’s grasp.


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.