Shorten Labor Government to renew Creative Australia

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Labor to Rebuild the Arts

Performing Arts Connections Australia congratulates the Labor Party on its arts and cultural policy announcement today to renew the 2013 cultural policy Creative Australia if elected.

PAC Australia’s Chair Helen O’Neil was at this afternoon’s policy launch at Melbourne’s Esplanade Hotel and had the following to share in response:

“PAC Australia is delighted to see the commitment from Bill Shorten of well-targeted new investment in live performing arts, and placing artists at the centre of Labor’s national cultural policy.

Restoring Creative Australia provides a viable and visionary pathway to making Australian culture more accessible and exciting. It recognises that Australia will reap a great return by supporting the skills talent and energy of Australian artists, presenters and producers.”

“This policy has recognised major areas for reform which PAC Australia has been working on for years including First Nation’s work, audiences, touring, accessibility & rebuilding capacity. Our recently released national performing arts conference program and our new strategic plan confirms that we’re on the money. And, we share Labor’s deep conviction that the arts is so much more than entertainment – PAC Australia members are stewards of our national cultural identity and this policy lays the platform to enable our industry to thrive.” – PAC Australia Executive Director, Rick Heath.

Rick noted that the policy commits to funding service organisations:

“A Shorten Labor Government is committed to investing in sector service organisations to stimulate much-needed industry-led development… boosting jobs for artists and opportunities for audiences all over Australia. The stories, artistry and knowledge of artists and creators across all regions of the nation deserve to be better supported.”

PAC Australia Chair, Helen O’Neil commented further, “the clear statements about the importance of the arts in Australian community life – and our economy – recognise the role of our artists, cultural organisations and arts centres in towns and cities everywhere.

We particularly value the investment in the Regional Arts Fund which recognises the added barriers to access for regional and remote Australia, and the funding for the Australia Council which would support producing and presenting of confident and work which will entertain, enrich audiences and showcase the talent of our creative workforce.

Live music is already a major part of the work of arts centres and Australian producers, so the Music funding would allow our members to move quickly to build tours and work with musicians.
 
Our members make, tour and present live performance across remote towns, suburbs, big and small cities. We know that Australian audiences would grow, and new talent would shine with the measures.

We also note a Shorten Labor Government would invest in training and education. We are confident this would see new careers in live and screen culture, on stage and back-stage as our creative industries grow.”  PAC Australia Chair, Helen O’Neil.

PAC Australia specifically welcomes the following commitments from the Shorten Labor Government:

  • The commitment to First Nation’s work with an initial investment of $8 million over 4 years to establish a new Indigenous Theatre Company and ongoing funding of $5 million per year for performance, training and touring.
  • Restoring Australia Council funding, providing an initial addition of $37.5 million over the forward estimates and maintaining this funding increase – totalling a commitment of over $112 million.
  • Providing an additional $1 million per year of regional arts funding to support ongoing artistic initiatives, invest in professional development opportunities, and increase employment for regional and remote artists.

If Labor is elected next week, we look forward to working with the new government to develop the policies.

Detailed information on the Labour Arts Policy can be found here.