Revive: National Cultural Policy – a Visual Arts Perspective

Media release

Launched on Monday 30 January by Prime Minister Hon Anthony Albanese MP and unveiled by the Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for the Arts, the National Cultural Policy ‘Revive: a place for every story, a story for every place’ marks a significant turning point for Australia’s arts and culture. The policy makes a powerful statement about the strength and vibrancy of our cultural sector, its importance to the wellbeing of all Australians, and relevance across all areas of government.

Revive is backed by additional funding of $286 million over four years from 2023-24 – restoring the money slashed by the former Coalition Government. NAVA welcomes the new Revive policy’s commitment to reversing the arts funding cuts and looks forward to more clarity in the financial details expected in the May 2023 budget.

The centrepiece of Revive is the establishment of Creative Australia, which aims to restore and modernise the Australia Council for the Arts with almost two-thirds of the Revive program’s funding. With an additional $199 million in funding, Creative Australia will provide greater strategic oversight and engagement across the sector. 

Chair of the NAVA Board, Clothilde Bullen said, ‘First Nations First offers a firm infrastructure to complete the necessary work on enshrining protections for First Nations artists nationally to protect art styles and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, a critical need for First Nations communities, as well as embedding a framework of autonomy and self-determination, particularly when it relates to the development of First Nations arts workers.’

‘Whilst it will be important to watch how the policy interacts with new federal budgetary measures to better support art institutions in terms of resourcing, it is clear that the policy understands the work necessary to ensure that independent, disabled, culturally diverse, historically marginalised and regionally and remotely-based artists, and those who have previously been significantly underserved by federal funding support are seen and will have access facilitated. I congratulate all those who contributed to this document and am excited by the possibility of sector transformation it speaks to.’

NAVA Executive Director Penelope Benton said, ‘It was really heartening to hear such genuine recognition by the government of the value of Australian artists, arts workers and organisations this morning. It is an important milestone for the arts to have a comprehensive policy statement from the federal government which weaves together the many threads of the arts’ contribution across almost every aspect of our lives.’ 

‘Importantly, the new policy’s endorsement of NAVA’s voluntary Code of Practice for Visual Arts, Craft and Design is a win for our sector. Mandating the Code in its entirety would have been better but this is a great start.’

‘The policy also outlines the government’s plans to include Award coverage of the arts sector and minimum standards as part of the upcoming Review of Modern Awards. While the policy falls short of answering the call of over 7,200 visual arts, craft and design practitioners who signed for the expanded recognition of art as work through an industrial Award, NAVA looks forward to working closely with the government to create Award coverage for artists and arts workers to ensure enforceable minimum employment and payment standards.’ 

Other highlights from the policy include:

  • Develop a First Nations Creative Workforce Development Strategy.
  • Provide a comprehensive response to the Productivity Commission’s report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Visual Arts and Crafts, building on the commitment to introduce stand-alone legislation.
  • Develop information about the flexibility available for artists to be looking for work or working in the creative arts sector, and to have this recognised as part of their mutual obligation requirements for unemployment payments.
  • Increase funding to the newly established Creative Australia to support more small and medium arts organisations and drive the development of new artistic works of scale.
  • Enhance the Resale Royalty Scheme to provide royalty payments to visual artists from the commercial sale of eligible works internationally.
  • Update the methodology used in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Cultural and Creative Activity Satellite Accounts to better capture the contribution of the cultural and creative sector.
  • Support specialist in-school arts education programs that directly draw from sector expertise, focussing on areas of identified disadvantage.
  • Review Australia’s higher education system and develop the Australian Universities Accord which will, as part of the Terms of Reference, consider the impact of changes made under the 2020 Job-ready Graduates reforms, including changes to student contribution amounts.

Penelope Benton said, ‘I commend Minister Burke for honouring his commitment to develop and release this policy so quickly.’

‘The actions outlined in Revive are a terrific starting point and NAVA looks forward to continuing to work with the Government to unpack and develop the details of these initiatives and actions, ensuring the reach across the visual arts sector. We also call for a commitment to support the new policy beyond the five year timeframe from all political parties.’

About NAVA

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) is a membership organisation which brings together the many voices of the contemporary arts sector to improve fundamental conditions of work and practice. We do this through advocacy, education and the Code of Practice. For further information on NAVA visit www.visualarts.net.au.

Media enquiries:

Leya Reid
e: nava@visualarts.net.au

Image: Screenshot of Revive: National Cultural Policy cover. 

[ID: Grey and orange graphic cover of National Cultural Policy with text in black font that reads, 'Australia's Cultural Policy for the next five years. Revive. A place for every story, a story for every place.' The Australian Government logo is top centre.]