End of year message from Adrian Collette AM

It has been an exciting and rewarding year for Creative Australia. The National Cultural Policy, Revive, a place for every story, a story for every place, launched in January, set us on a path of transformation, challenging us to become a bigger and bolder champion and investor in Australian arts and creativity – not only in the scale of investment that flows through us into the sector, but also through a significantly expanded remit.

The size of the investment, an additional $200m over 4 years, will certainly help buffer the sector from further disruption. It will also strengthen Australia’s creative industries. Our creative industries are generative – infinite, not finite – as they enrich our lives and transform our economy. As a country, Australia has one of the oldest continuing living cultures in the world and one of the most diverse populations in the world – an enviable position both creatively and economically. The National Cultural Policy is not simply an arts policy; because investing in the cultural and creative industries is a commitment to Australia’s social and economic future.

Our re-branding from the Australia Council for the Arts to Creative Australia is much more than a change in name. To date, it recognises a remarkable year of work towards the ambitions of the National Cultural Policy. These include:

  • The merging of the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Partnerships Australia, which gives us the opportunity to work in partnership with the private sector, both philanthropic and commercial – to coinvest where necessary and dramatically shift the scale and impact of our investment in artists and the creative sector.
  • The establishment of Music Australia – informed by a Council of contemporary artists and industry expertise, Music Australia is building a portfolio of strategic investment to support the discovery of Australian talent and build a strong marketplace for Australian contemporary music, both here and abroad.
  • The establishment of Creative Workplaces – informed by a Council of industry professionals and artists chaired by Australia’s former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins AO, to promote fair, safe, and respectful workplaces for artists and all who work in the sector.
  • The commencement of consultation with First Nations communities – to inform the establishment of a First Nations-led Board in 2024, which will self-determine our investment in First Nation’s art and culture.
  • The delivery of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards – taking on responsibility for the Awards process and celebrating the authors and publishers in Australia that have delivered remarkable works of literature.
  • The induction of the new Board of Creative Australia, known as the Australia Council Board – the Board includes practising artists and reflects the diversity of contemporary Australia.

Increased investment in the sector has already begun to flow with the announcement of a $169.9m multiyear investment across 159 small to medium-sized organisations. This substantial increase is intended to boost a thriving sector that reflects the length and breadth of Australian culture – our wonderfully diverse creative communities and audiences.

Music Australia, as it builds its investment programming for 2024, has already contributed to the delivery of our Contemporary Music Touring program to help musicians tour regional and remote destinations to grow their audience, building touring experience, and strengthen local communities and their economies.

Also, this year we published the results of our landmark National Audience Participation Survey, which we conduct every three years. Consistent with the previous survey, 2022 saw over 97% of Australians engage in arts and cultural experiences, with a substantial increase in people attending to improve their wellbeing.

There is more work to be done in 2024 to deliver the National Cultural Policy as we establish the First Nations Council, consult on the establishment of Writers Australia, shape the works of scale investment fund, and support the development of Australia’s first State of Culture Report.

With a new Board in place, with dedicated colleagues and an energetic and passionate leadership team, we pay respect to the Australia Council’s legacy by focusing on the needs of future generations of audiences, artists, organisations, and all those who support this essential sector.

We are a creative nation, we achieve more together than if we stand apart, we are Creative Australia.

/Public Release. View in full here.