National Cultural Policy is a big step forward for the sector
The release of the new National Cultural Policy, Revive, is a major show of faith in the arts sector by the Albanese government after years of wilful neglect by its Coalition predecessors.
MEAA welcomes the Revive policy, which has been the result of widespread consultation with industry stakeholders that began soon after last year’s federal election.
MEAA is pleased that most of the recommendations it made in its submission to the policy review have been adopted, including giving a greater artistic and cultural voice to First Nations peoples; enhanced funding for the renamed Australia Council and for regional arts and culture; the establishment of Music Australia with $69 million of funding; an agency to enforce conditions and safety standards in the arts and entertainment industries; mandated minimum remuneration for musicians and performers contracted by the government; and a commitment to require streaming services to produce Australian content.
MEAA Chief Executive Erin Madeley said the government had listened to stakeholders and shown it was prepared to act to reinvest in the sector and lift the wages of arts workers.
“Arts Minister Tony Burke is to be commended for pushing through this new policy so soon after the election in the face of so many competing priorities for the new government,” she said.
“It shows just how importantly the Albanese government views the arts and cultural sector.
“Revive provides a solid framework for the arts going forward, and it recognises the central role that the arts and arts workers play in our national story and as a major part of the economy.
“The policy also places a welcome emphasis on participation in artistic and creative activities at a community level so that all Australians, whatever their background or their age, wherever they live, can benefit from cultural activity.
“And it is a refreshing change to have a government that recognises that cultural and creative work is a professional activity that must be underpinned by enforceable fair pay and conditions, including safe and inclusive workplaces.”
MEAA Federal President Simon Collins said Revive was the most comprehensive creative policy statement to be released by a federal government for more than a decade, with a commitment of almost $300 million in new spending.
“Of course, one policy does not erase the neglect of the sector over a long period. And the success of this policy will depend on how it is implemented, including how arts funding is allocated in the future,” he said.
“But this is an important milestone in delivering confidence to arts workers that they are valued and respected by the government and the community and MEAA is keen to play a constructive role in delivering on the promise of this policy.”
Ms Madeley said the National Cultural Policy provided a roadmap for the arts and entertainment sectors over the next half-a-decade, and MEAA looked forward to working with the government to bed down specific initiatives, particularly the requirements for Australian screen content on streaming platforms to ensure continued access to local stories.
Once in place, these new content requirements will deliver a big boost to investment in Australian made productions, in turn creating thousands more jobs and opportunities for our world-class performers and crew.