Arts Policy priorities

Aerial view of a large painting of flowers and plants with a purple background. A hand is holding a brush and adding to detail to the centre of the work.
Gwenneth Blitner at work (untitled work), acrylic on linen 2021. Image courtesy of Ngukurr Arts. © Gwenneth Blitner/Copyright Agency, 2022.

The Australian Government is developing a new national cultural policy. Nationwide consultation is underway with the aim to launch the new policy at the end of 2022.

NAVA is currently consulting with the sector to confirm what is needed for the visual arts and craft in alignment with the following five overarching pillars as drawn from both Creative Australia and Renewing Creative Australia:

  • First Nations: recognising and respecting the crucial place of these stories at the centre of our arts and culture. 
  • A place for every story: reflecting the diversity of our stories and the contribution of all Australians as the creators of culture.
  • The centrality of the artist: supporting the artist as worker and celebrating their role as the creators of culture.
  • Strong institutions: providing support across the spectrum of institutions which sustain our arts and culture.
  • Reaching the audience: ensuring our stories reach the right people at home and abroad.

The below has been developed from recent discussions with the sector and will be added to as NAVA continues consultation and research.

1. First Nations

  • Increase the number of targeted First Nations arts worker and leadership roles across small-to-medium arts organisations and the arts sector more broadly. Prioritise cluster hiring, especially for larger organisations with greater capacity.
  • Invest in First Nations-led education, training, mentorship and skills development programs to support First Nations employment and representation in middle-tier jobs, leadership roles, boards, and Aboriginal advisory groups. 
  • Introduce and support targeted programs focused on creating and retaining First Nations employment, supporting micro businesses and strengthening existing businesses, as well as funding designated First Nations roles for visual arts peak bodies and touring agencies sector-wide. 
  • Boost Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support (IVAIS) funding for Indigenous arts organisations (art centres, cultural centres, knowledge centres, language centres, Aboriginal museums, galleries and Keeping Places), peak bodies, and support agencies to provide appropriate support across all states and territories and all urban, regional and remote communities.
  • Provide funding to enable First Nations-led organisations to take advantage of new prevalent market opportunities within Australia and abroad.
  • Commit targeted financial support for independent self-determined First Nations artists and practitioners.
  • Invest in First Nations-led education and training programs for visual artists and craftspeople.
  • Invest in First Nations-led infrastructure including local Art and Cultural Centres, studios, small-to-medium arts organisations and galleries across all urban, regional and remote communities.
  • Action legislative reform as recommended by the Fake Art Harms Culture campaign.
  • Provide targeted support to increase engagement with the visual arts and craft sector for vulnerable First Nations people, such as those coming in and out of incarceration.
  • Ensure public investment is tied to equity and industry standards for First Nations people.
  • Provide cultural safety and awareness training for galleries and arts organisations.
  • Support truth telling in galleries.
  • Before approving public funding for arts and cultural projects that claim to be consulting and collaborating with Traditional Owners, confirm that has genuinely occurred.

2. A place for every story

  • A place for every story or ‘diversity’ isn’t its own pillar. The pillars need to be broken down and the policy needs to have a whole-of-ecology approach and all these things embedded throughout.
  • Establish an Anti-Racism Strategy. Anti-racism to be central to arts recovery to work towards an equitable sector. 
  • Invest in opportunities for artists and arts workers with disability to gain sustainable, reasonable employment opportunities or opportunities to earn income and to develop a career path. Increase the visibility of people with disability as leaders or in senior management positions across the arts sector. 
  • Develop a framework around access to education at all levels of school and university and TAFE, access to career development and skills development and professional practice so that individually and collectively people can follow chosen pathways and chosen careers regardless of where they choose to live or their internet connection or ability to travel or afford to go to another university or place of practice. 
  • Artists and employees of all gender identities in the arts are afforded the safety, security and dignity that they're entitled to under anti-discrimination law. 
  • Young People and Culture Framework 
  • Support the next phase of the new Australian Curriculum 9.0. 
  • Ensure that public funding is equity-tested, tied to accessibility standards and that 30% at minimum is designated for racially marginalised groups, people with disability and d/Deaf organisations, artists and programs. 
  • Increased funding to support arts organisations to meet equity and accessibility standards 
  • Revise KPIs and funding to focus on impact instead of outputs.
  • Invest in increasing access, participation and opportunities for visual artists, craft practitioners and arts organisations in regional Australia.

3. The centrality of the artist

  • Industrial reform that gives the Fair Work Commission powers to set minimum standards for artists and art workers and the scope and flexibility the Fair Work Commission needs to deal with “employee-like” forms of work
  • Establish an industrial Award rate for the visual arts and craft which legislates the payment of artists’ fees.
  • Extend the small claims jurisdiction in the Fair Work Division of the Court to assist artists to resolve disputes without recourse to costly legal proceedings
  • Basic income scheme for artists and arts workers.
  • Centrelink to recognise art as a profession and adopt income averaging in similar to ways this type of income is handled by the ATO under the Tax Ruling: carrying on business as a professional artist.
  • Superannuation reform so that visual artists receive super contributions.
  • Art prizes, fellowships, scholarships, and government grants are tax exempt. 
  • Raise the allocation for arms length peer-assessed arts funding for independent practitioners and at least 200 small-to-medium organisations through the Australia Council.
  • 300 new 3-year Creative Fellowships through the Australia Council awarded annually (900 fellows funded across three year funding cycles).
  • Ensure public funding is contingent on the payment of visual artists at or above minimum standard rates as set out in NAVA’s Code of Practice, and that funding levels are adequate to support those payments.
  • Australia Council funds restored back to 2013 levels as a baseline and adjusted for inflation at a minimum.
  • Tax incentives promote the purchase of work by living Australian artists. Give to the arts, buy art schemes and taxation incentives.
  • Improve the benefit to artists donating direct to the Cultural Gifts Program.
  • Introduce tax incentives for individuals to buy the work of Australian artists and craft practitioners.
  • Invest in existing peak bodies, support agencies and service organisations to increase professional development programs for artists and arts workers.
  • Support universities and TAFEs to expand delivery of professional practice units for all arts students.
  • The key artforms (dance, drama, media arts, music, visual arts and design) are core and mandatory in the national curriculum for all children at all levels. Secondary schools are properly resourced with specialist arts teachers.
  • Affordable space for artists is included in urban and regional master planning.

4. Strong institutions

  • Industrial reform for visual arts, craft and design 
    • Award rate for arts workers
    • Portable long service leave
    • Superannuation for gig workers
  • Increase the Australia Council’s Four-Year Funding for Organisations program to support at least 200 small-to-medium organisations.
  • Establish a National Exhibitions and Events Business Insurance fund to provide direct support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, natural disasters and other crises to artists, sole traders, venues and small-to-medium organisations, inclusive of the visual arts sector. 
  • Develop a Crisis and Disaster Recovery Fund for direct, targeted income support, inclusive of the visual arts, craft and design sector. All support packages must be equity-tested to ensure they support the most marginalised people. 
  • Invest in First Nations-led education, training, mentorship and skills development programs to support First Nations employment and representation in middle-tier jobs, leadership roles, boards, and Aboriginal advisory groups. 
  • Increase funding for arts education across schools through existing Commonwealth-state schools funding agreements. Ensure artists are engaged by the education department respectfully (fair contracts).
  • Invest in university funding for creative courses, reduce tuition fees for arts subjects, and remove Ministerial discretion from approving or rejecting research grants recommended and administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC). 
  • Invest in the whole ecology including pathways. Multiple points of entry for people in the sector that are accessible and diversity is baked in through the people and through that diversity we get a diversity of organisations and a diversity of models.
  • Adopt in full the recommendations from Sculpting a National Cultural Plan: Igniting a post-COVID economy for the arts, the final report for the recent Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s Creative and Cultural Industries and Institutions.

5. Reaching the audience

  • Extend Visions of Australia, the regional exhibition touring program to include an international touring program for reaching a global audience
  • Invest in new funding to support the professional presentation of Australian artists, artworks and exhibitions in the digital space, ensuring artists’ copyright is protected and are paid ongoing publishing fees for their content
  • Boost funding to the Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program to properly digitise collections and license images of artwork for sharing on Trove
  • Address NBN blackspots
  • Re-establish the National Arts and Culture Accord to facilitate cooperation between three levels of government
  • Commercial lease subsidies, tax incentives for landlords and planning reform to support pop-up spaces and small galleries for artists to show work and reach new audiences
  • Ensuring accessible spaces, culturally safe spaces
  • Diversity of workforce 
  • Support development, delivery and promotion of arts trails to attract local visitors and tourists
  • Arts literacy built in from education.
  • Investment in the breadth of practice.

Are we missing anything? Email NAVA with your insights and ideas for arts policy at 

NAVA hosted five free 1-hour Zoom workshops to amplify the voices of the visual arts, craft and design sector to the government’s National Cultural Policy consultation, 2 - 4 August 2022. 

Each workshop was centred on one of the five pillars of the government's cultural policy framework. 

Meeting notes from each session are available here