Arts & Culture03 Feb 2023

Revive National Cultural Policy puts arts at the centre of Australian life 

Minderoo Foundations welcomes the launch of Revive: Australia’s cultural policy for the next five years as the start of new era in Australian arts that will elevate creativity to the centre of national life.

Moombaki image Duncan Wright
‘Moombaki’​ at Fremantle Biennale. Photo Credit: Duncan Wright.

The five pillars of Revive – to put First Nations first, find a place for every story, ensure the centrality of the artist, reach the audience, and ensure strong institutions – align with Minderoo Foundation’s strong track record of support through our Arts & Culture initiative, and the work of Generation One to end employment disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in our lifetime.  

Director of Minderoo’s Arts & Culture initiative Ella McNeill said the Foundation is excited by Minister for the Arts Tony Burke’s comments that artists are workers and what they do matters to everyone. 

“Watching the livestream of the policy’s launch from Melbourne’s Esplanade Hotel, I was enthralled by repeated recognition from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Minister Burke that arts are vital to Australian life and that its practitioners deserve better treatment, from working conditions to engagement by wider audiences. Minderoo stands ready to engage with Minister Burke as he accelerates the revitalisation of Australia’s arts sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which greatly impacted the events, careers, and mental health of creative workers. We also look forward to hearing more about how philanthropy from around Australia can continue to support this recovery, and the policy more generally.” 

The policy’s first pillar – First Nations first – is enacted through the creation of a First Nations-focused body within Creative Australia, a new entity that will modernise the Australia Council for the Arts, with emphasis on raising standards of pay, workplace safety, codes of conduct, and employment through the newly-formed Centre for Arts and Entertainment Workplaces. 

Director of Minderoo Foundation’s Generation One initiative Shelley Cable said this will have important outcomes for Indigenous employment in the arts industry. 

“Minderoo Foundation’s Indigenous Employment Index showed that employers in Australia need to do more to attract, train, retain and promote Indigenous employees. It also found that one-off measures to create Indigenous jobs must give way to a more comprehensive and systemic approach, so this is very welcome news. To see self-determination at the heart of the policy will allow First Nations artists to take greater control of their work, and improve artistic practises, representation, and career pathways through training and education. We congratulate the government for progress on this and look forward to seeing more detail on how it will be delivered,” she said. 

The policy complements the work of the Minderoo Foundation to build capacity for the arts sector and our creative workforce to ensure artists can keep contributing to Australia’s cultural life. This is especially resonant with the Centre’s mission to address sexual harassment and bullying – a long overdue change that will encourage safer workplaces and could foster greater gender equality within the arts industry. 

Minderoo is also pleased to see Revive’s emphasis on encouraging Australian voices, with local content quotas for streaming services ensuring more local film and television content and a boost to regional arts so that every Australian has a chance to engage with high-quality, community-building arts experiences.  

Minderoo Foundation sees Revive’s launch as a unifying moment for arts practitioners, government, business, and philanthropy to encourage more coordinated investment in the arts industry across jurisdictions and levels of government. This is especially important in our home of Western Australia. 

The Foundation is optimistic that Revive will help move the arts from the edges to the centre – the place it belongs. 

Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation

Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.

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