Creative Communities: putting culture at heart of NSW

The Minns government has today unveiled details of Creative Communities, the new arts, culture and creative industries policy.

Creative Communities is a 10-year vision, the state’s first creative industries policy, supporting the traditional arts sector and cultural institutions, but encompassing industries informed by the state’s unique and diverse cultural strengths, including:

  • First Nations cultures
  • Galleries, libraries, archives and museums
  • Performing arts including theatre, dance, circus, comedy, cabaret
  • Music including classical and contemporary composition, performance, and recording
  • Screen and digital games
  • Visual arts and crafts
  • Literature, writing and publishing
  • Broadcasting and digital media
  • Design, architecture and fashion
  • Built and physical heritage
  • Creative and arts education
  • Creativity in the food and beverage sector
  • Creative innovation in the technology sector

Creative Communities has the goal of sustainably growing the depth and breadth of creative industries throughout NSW, and over the next decade enabling creative individuals, organisations and communities throughout the state to reach their potential.

The NSW Government endorses, and through Creative Communities will focus on implementing Revive, the National Cultural Policy, by supporting the NSW cultural ecosystem.

Creative Communities also supports the Revive goal of exporting more Australian stories to the world. Australia has one of the largest creative trade deficits per capita in the world. We consume global stories faster and tell local stories less than most places on the planet. The NSW Government will measure and establish goals to increase the state’s creative exports.

Whole of Government approach

Creative Communities will guide the NSW Government’s efforts to enable, support and advocate for culture for the next decade. Commitments to support this include:

  • Creative Communities commits to a whole-of-government effort to advocate for, to enable and invest in the arts, culture and creative industries.
  • To drive implementation of the policy across government, a role will be designated to lead and oversee this transformation, guided by a ministerial advisory committee, senior public servants, and industry advisors.
  • Legislating the delivery of a Creative Statement to the Parliament every three years, detailing and tracking the status, health and progress of the arts, culture and creative industries in line with this policy.
  • Establishing formal partnerships between Create NSW and the NSW Department of Education, TAFE NSW, the Ministry of Health, Transport for NSW, Placemaking NSW and other agencies to further develop priority streams of work.
  • Recognising the importance of the state’s universities, National Art School, NIDA and the Australian Film TV and Radio School to our cultural ecosystem and strengthening partnerships with them.

Creative people

Enabled by recent and ongoing improvements to creative infrastructure, the NSW Government will focus on investing in a wide variety of creative people and communities across the state. Additionally, the NSW Government commits to

  • Safeguarding and modernising workplace conditions for artists, including requiring individuals and organisations receiving government funding to commit to safe workplace standards.

Next generation creatives

Creative Communities encourages the next generation of culture workers and leaders to step forward. This will be a condition of NSW Government funding. Further commitments include:

  • Establishing a Youth Creative Taskforce to ensure the next generation of cultural leaders are at the decision-making table and advise the Minister directly.
  • Referring arts and music education to the NSW Parliament for inquiry.
  • Establishing a Generations fellowship, $500,000 investment over 5 years to support 15 early career Western Sydney music artists to undertake professional development.

Creative spaces

The NSW Government will activate creative spaces by a combination of continued direct public investment, seeking new sources of investment for the sector, and regulatory reform.

  • Creative Communities envisages that NSW will become home to a First Nations cultural centre and enhanced cultural tourism. It will forge strong and enduring partnerships with Indigenous creative communities, to create new work, rebuild connection and healing.
  • The NSW Government supports maintaining free public access to NSW State Cultural Institutions and collections. They have been built with public money over many decades and are the property and should be accessible by all NSW citizens.
  • A cultural space audit in 2024 will aim to identify underutilised assets that could be used for creative endeavours, including spaces held by NSW agencies, local councils and other landholders.
  • Ensure that cultural infrastructure and good design are included in major public housing and transport infrastructure investments, including by expanding the Heritage Floor Space Scheme.
  • The NSW Government will introduce further vibrancy reforms in 2024 – continuing to improve planning, liquor, outdoor, and sound and noise regulations to encourage cultural activity across NSW.

The NSW Government will also:

  • Ensure the White Bay Power Station will be available for ongoing cultural use, starting with the 2024 Biennale of Sydney.


The NSW Government will support festivals across the state by:

  • Strengthening the co-ordination of festival support in NSW to properly position and grow the festivals sector, leveraging the wide range of industries involved, including improving staging for festivals and concerts following the development of a business for outdoor cultural infrastructure across central Sydney, Parramatta, Western Sydney, and Regional NSW.
  • Reviewing the Entertainment Act to identify ways to strengthen support for festivals, venues, artists, managers and music workers.

Creative reform

  • The NSW Government will establish a Cultural Front Door concierge, a simplified way for creative people to engage with government.
  • The NSW Government will reform of the Arts and Culture Funding Program (ACFP) making it a fairer and more equitable process, including reducing paperwork for applicants and simplifying the acquittal process.
  • The Minister will issue a formal direction to the state’s tourism body, Destination NSW, to formalise the state’s experience tourism policy focus. Such a direction will explicitly commit support for the arts, culture and creative experiences across NSW.

Promoting NSW arts and culture venues and activities, including local festivals and events, alongside major international/national entertainment (through refocussed Destination NSW marketing funding and state-wide calendar optimised to show local events and programs.


Screen NSW will be made more independent, and we will strengthen its capacity to serve the industry by shortening investment approval timeframes, contracting and payment times, and expanding the role of the board. Additional support for the sector includes:

  • developing a business case for a second major film studio in Sydney to ensure Sydney remains the leading location for Australian and international productions.
  • introducing a new digital games seed development fund and market travel program to expand our support for sector to grow digital games industry.
  • providing long-term funding certainty for screen investment programs.
  • making Callan Park available for filming on an ongoing basis.


The reshaping of the music sector will be driven by Sound NSW with leadership from its newly appointed advisory board and in collaboration with Music Australia, Creative Australia’s new contemporary music office. The review of contemporary music has begun, and a ten-year music strategy and the 3-year implementation plan will be released in 2024. Additionally, the NSW Government will:

  • legislate a board for the state’s contemporary music agency, Sound NSW, in 2024.
  • develop a business case for a home for music in NSW, providing affordable spaces for music organisations, businesses, community radio, networking, rehearsal and events.

Western Sydney

  • The NSW Government will invest in the Western Sydney Arts Alliance and increase staff support to coordinate initiatives for Western Sydney artists, arts organisations and creative communities.
  • To support NSW children’s education, the NSW Government will develop a strategic partnership between the NSW Department of Education and Powerhouse Parramatta to embed NSW teachers into the Powerhouse Parramatta team to develop curriculum-based learning programs in collaboration with teachers, schools, industry and the museum.
  • Powerhouse Parramatta will develop a major new, multi-year Western Sydney initiative for writers and writing with Sydney Writers Festival, Western Sydney University and City of Parramatta Council from 2026.
  • When the Powerhouse Parramatta opens in 2025 it will include the Western Sydney HipHop Archive a collaboration with 4ESydney and Blacktown Arts.
  • The NSW Government will deliver $160 million for cultural infrastructure in Western Sydney including building a lyric theatre as part of the Riverside Theatres redevelopment in Parramatta, a 350-seat theatre in Campbelltown and a new cultural centre in Blacktown.
  • Deliver a final business case for the Roxy Theatre in Parramatta.

Regional NSW

The NSW Government will deliver a regional arts, culture and creative industries strategy in 2024 to grow and support sustainable participation in local activities. This includes:

  • Working with local councils to reduce red tape for festivals and events to access local spaces.
  • Working with regional communities, councils, creative organisations and venues to support a connected network of regional touring. This will involve working with local councils to connect and activate the network of regional halls and spaces to support local touring across music, performance and visual art / exhibitions.
  • Supporting at least four new creative industries/artist workspaces in regional NSW in the next four years.

Minister for Arts John Graham said:

“We are lucky to live in NSW, a state rich in creativity. The state’s first arts, culture and creative industries policy commits the government to advocating for the value of culture, to enabling and investing in culture with the whole of government.

“The NSW Government believes creativity is one of the key things to celebrate about our state. That is why we are sharing our 10-year policy framework. This is where we’re starting, and where we’re heading. This certainly not the end point. We want to unleash creativity across the state.

“Coming into government, the Minns Labor government promised to solve some of the obvious problems in the NSW arts, culture, and creative industries sector, and actively support and advocate to ensure the sector grows in significance to the state’s economy and in the life of the people of NSW.

Creative Communities has the goal of sustainably growing the depth and breadth of creative industries throughout NSW, and over the next decade enabling creative individuals, organisations and communities throughout the state to reach their potential. These creative sectors already represent 10% of the state’s economy.

“A thriving cultural sector is welcoming for younger generations … the grass roots for the next generation of great artists, makers, creative thinkers and doers. The drive for a thriving creative and cultural sector has a number of benefits and outcomes, including a more diverse and resilient economy.

“Creative Communities’ commitment is to the artists, makers and workers in the arts, culture, and creative industries. We acknowledge the critical role of artists, creatives, and makers, as well as those behind the scenes – the crews in production, making sets and costumes, booking shows, and managing talent. They are all important to the health of the ecosystem.”

Read the full policy:

/Public Release. View in full here.