Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Senator Lundy, the Minister representing the Minister for the Arts. Can the minister advise the Senate on the government's exciting plan to strengthen the future of the arts, cultural heritage and creative industries in Australia?
Honourable senators interjecting—
As I was saying, this policy is about creating excellence, jobs, prosperity, opportunity and unique Australian stories, all vital to an outward looking, competitive and confident nation. It is the first national cultural policy for almost 20 years, recognising that we must update our strategies because of the major changes sweeping through the cultural sector. It is a vision and strategy to place arts and culture at the centre of modern Australian life. It will provide further evidence that a creative nation is a productive nation that produces not only an economic dividend but a social dividend through investing in the cultural sectors, with the return in strengthening our underlying values of inclusiveness, openness and democratic practice. Culture is expressed in many ways: through our stories, through the way we live, the way we speak, conduct public life, relate to others, celebrate, remember the past, entertain ourselves and imagine the future. And our creative expression gives voice to us as individuals, challenges perceptions and helps us see the world through the eyes of others. This is a national cultural policy that we believe all Australians can be proud of. It contains many specific initiatives, including further investment in the Australia Council, investment in major performing arts companies—the ArtsReady program, Creative Young Stars program, ArtStart program—and of course investment in Indigenous visual arts industry support programs as well. There are several more— (Time expired)
New legislation will be introduced into parliament next week for a restructured Australia Council. This will include modernising the governance structures of the council. This is a wonderful opportunity for the government to pay tribute to all those who have served on this vibrant body over its 40-year period, including the current chair, Rupert Myer, and deputy chair, Robyn Archer. The contribution of this amazing collection of people over a generation cannot be understated. It is an incredibly important contribution that often extends beyond the professional to the personal commitment of those involved. We were all deeply saddened that its most recent former chair, James Strong, passed away last week, and we offer our condolences to family and friends. He, like others, did so much to build the argument for the central role of the arts in Australian life— (Time expired)
Creative Australia is also about developing creative pathways to give young people accredited skills. The government will extend the successful SportsReady program to engage students in learning through ArtsReady with new funding of $3.4 million. We know young people are passionate about their music, design and the arts, as well as being passionate about their sport. We are giving them real opportunities to train for jobs and to gain recognised accreditation in rapidly growing service and creative industries which build on their passions. Through local communities the government will establish the Creative Young Stars program. This program will help thousands of school students and post-school youth to develop their talents and pursue their dreams with $23,500 of grants made available in every federal electorate across Australia each and every year.