Rupert Myer AM, Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts has today welcomed the launch of the National Cultural Policy and response to the recommendations of the Australia Council review.
Speaking from the National Press Club in Canberra, where Minister for the Arts The Hon Simon Crean MP launched the policy, Mr Rupert Myer said, ‘The development and delivery of the National Cultural Policy, Creative Australia, symbolises the importance of the arts to a vibrant, innovative and healthy Australia. It is an opportunity to reposition artists and creativity at the centre of Australian life.’
‘Creative Australia embodies the principle that the arts are for everyone, and experienced in many ways in every community from Indigenous arts and cultures across the country, to opera on the harbour, blockbuster exhibitions in our galleries, and local performing arts centres,’ Mr Myer said.
The Policy presents a national framework for the arts, culture and creativity; providing Australia with a set of strategic directions, initiatives and themes.
‘This is an opportunity to ensure artists and Australian creativity are recognised, valued and celebrated for the immense contribution they make to our nation and society. It is an historic juncture to be seized where digital technology and the global creative community and market place are expanding artistic horizons beyond anything we have seen in the past.
‘The Australia Council is delighted that Creative Australia positions our organisation as a pivotal driver of the nation’s cultural future,’ said Mr Myer.
Creative Australia includes the Government’s response to the review of the Australia Council. Initiated in 2011, the review affirmed the inaugural Chair Mr H.C ‘Nugget’ Coombs’ original vision for the Australia Council as relevant today, but recommended that the Council’s enabling legislation and governance be updated to reflect the Council’s place in 21st century Australia.
Included in the response to the recommendations is a $75.3 million increase to funding to the Australia Council over four years. This additional funding is chiefly in aid of its core responsibility to support more artists who have achieved excellence in practice.
‘The Australia Council receives applications from more high-quality artists today than ever before, some of them working in ways not imagined 10 years ago. This increased funding is welcomed as it represents a significant further investment in artistic excellence of this kind,’ Mr Myer said.
‘The response to the Australia Council review also provides a timely opportunity to remake the institution to fit the times. Modernised legislation will clarify functions and remove constraints, providing Council with greater flexibility to engage more artistic expertise to assist its planning and decisions. Importantly, the new legislation also confirms that Council’s decisions on arts funding are made at arms’ length from government.
‘Four decades after the establishment of the Australia Council I believe the changes outlined in this announcement offer the Australia Council a new flexibility, new tools, better interconnectivity and ways of meeting the challenges and securing the opportunities that lay ahead,’ Mr Myer said.
‘The Australia Council looks forward to a continuing dialogue with the sector as we implement the adopted review recommendations,’ he concluded.