New body to drive $286m shot in the arm for Australia’s ailing arts sector

A new multimillion-dollar body supporting Australians in the creative arts will be the centrepiece of an overhaul of the country’s cultural sector.

Jan 30, 2023, updated Jan 30, 2023
The federal government has thrown a $286m lifeline to Australia's battling arts sector. (Image: Qld Ballet).

The federal government has thrown a $286m lifeline to Australia's battling arts sector. (Image: Qld Ballet).

The federal government will on Monday outline its new national cultural policy, also known as Revive, which will be used as a $286 million blueprint for the arts in Australia for the next five years.

A new arts investment and advisory body known as Creative Australia will be set up, with $200 million going towards the organisation over the next four years.

The body will be in charge of funding artistic projects across a range of mediums at arm’s length from the government.

As part of Creative Australia, dedicated bodies will oversee investments in the music industry as well as helping Australian writers and illustrators.

Arts Minister Tony Burke says the new investment will help Australian artists reach an international audience, with it being hard to compete with overseas acts.

“People shifted from buying albums and CDs to streaming, international competition is just seamless now,” he told ABC TV.

“It’s really hard to make a living just off local streaming revenues. To be able to reach an international audience is critically part of that.”

Quotas on Australian content on streaming services are also set to be on the agenda as part of the cultural policy.

While the exact quota number is yet to be set, discussions will take place between the government and streamers before legislation locking in a target is introduced to parliament later this year.

“If you’re watching free-to-air TV through your aerial, you’ve got Australian content guaranteed, but if you’re watching it through the internet, there is zero guarantees,” he said.

“Those days have to come to an end.”

The legislation will have a start date no later than July 1, 2024.

“We’re trying to make sure life in Australia is filled with our own stories,” Mr Burke said.

“What we want is to be able to have a situation where you can go through a menu on a streaming service and not everything is from the UK or the United States.”

A new First Nations-led body will also be set up as part of the new organisation, as well as setting up a centre for arts and entertainment workplaces that will oversee whether workers in the arts were being paid fairly and in workplaces free from discrimination.

As part of the policy, the Australia Council – which previously oversaw creative investments decisions – will become Creative Australia’s governing body.

The policy will also introduce legislation to protect Indigenous knowledge and cultural expression, such as cracking down on fake Aboriginal art, as well as set up a National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs and an Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Perth.


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* The national cultural policy, Revive, comes with $286 million in dedicated funding over four years.

* About $200 million of those funds will go to a revamped Australia Council, which will be re-named Creative Australia.

* The government says about $44 million in extra funding for Creative Australia will reverse cuts made under the coalition.

* Creative Australia will have an expanded remit, with the creation of Music Australia, Writers Australia and the Centre for Arts and Entertainment workplaces.

* A First Nations-led body will give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders autonomy over funding decisions, one of a slate of measures addressing Indigenous art and culture.

* These include $11 million to establish an Indigenous languages policy partnership, and the establishment of a strategy to develop a First Nations creative workforce.

* Promised new laws to protect traditional knowledge and cultural expression, including stamping out fake art, were already on the government’s agenda, while the October interim budget also allocated $80 million to establish a national Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs and $50 million to Perth’s Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

* The government promises Creative Australia will fund organisations and projects based on artistic merit and decisions will be made at arm’s length.

* The government revealed on Friday that authors would get paid for library holdings of their audio and e-books for the first time as part of the policy, a $12.9 million measure that is expected to significantly boost their income.

* Revive also commits the government to regulating Australian content on streaming platforms, although it’s not clear where it will land on the issue of content quotas.

* The previous government did not have any overarching cultural policy and many arts organisations survived on precarious or much-reduced funding despite the emergency $200 million Rise program rolled out in response to the pandemic.

* The policy has not addressed the funding problems facing some of Australia’s most important collecting institutions, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Museum and National Archives.

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