Sculpting a National Cultural Plan: Igniting a post-COVID economy for the arts
Conducted by the Standing Committee of Communications and the Arts, the House of Representative’s Inquiry was called by Minister Fletcher in August 2020, with submissions accepted throughout 2020 and the beginning of 2021. The outcomes rest in 22 key recommendations, the most significant being a pathway to establishing a National Cultural Plan, calling for ‘coordinated, practical action to support industry growth and community access to Australian arts and culture.’
LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Recommendation 1: That the Commonwealth Government develop a national cultural plan to assess the medium and long term needs of the sector.
Recommendation 2: The Commonwealth Government encourages each level of government to develop and administer strategies to grow cultural and creative industries within their own jurisdictions. The levels of government should liaise regularly, and place a strong focus on rural, regional and remote support for the creative and cultural industries
The Committee further recommends that the Commonwealth Government direct the Productivity Commission to inquire into the legislative arrangements which govern funding of artistic programs and activities at all levels of government. The Productivity Commission should consider barriers and opportunities for artistic programs to be established at the different levels of government.
Recommendation 3: That the Office for the Arts investigate the establishment of a national centre of Indigenous culture and arts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork, in a co-designed process with community. As part of this process, the Office for the Arts should consider the most culturally appropriate site to build a national centre of Indigenous culture and arts; how to create a national network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander galleries in partnership with State/Territory art institutions; and examine how museums and galleries can further improve Indigenous representation and participation across all areas.
Recommendation 4: The title of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications be amended to include the Arts.
Recommendation 5: The Office for the Arts to consider / investigate what would be required to create an app which contains a repository of information of current artistic and cultural events, in consultation with Tourism Australia, and State and Territory Government peak bodies and other industry-relevant entities.
Recommendation 6: The Committee recognises the enormous potential of the interactive games sector for Australia and welcomes the implementation of the Digital Games Tax Offset, and recommends a report on its progress 12 months from the commencement of the offset.
Recommendation 7: That the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications undertake a review to ensure authors are being appropriately compensated for income lost through free multiple use of their books in public and educational lending libraries under the Public Lending Right and Educational Lending Right (PLR/ELR). It also recommended consultation with peak bodies, Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA AMCOS), authors, and other industry-relevant entities.
Recommendation 8: To introduce legislation that requires over-the-top (OTT) media services (streaming and video/subscription video on demand services) to allocate at least 20% of their local revenue on new Australian drama, documentary, children’s content, commissions, co-productions or acquisitions of content. The new legislation should also prescribe at least 20% of the 20% quota to local children’s content and drama.
Recommendation 9: To consider working with tertiary education providers to develop a program of internships and cadetships which would see students and young people work in regional, small and/or community-focussed galleries, libraries, archives and museums, and recommends a pilot program.
Recommendation 10: Urgent funding provided by the Commonwealth Government to the National Archives of Australia to conduct digitisation and preservation work, and recommends that additional funding be provided to the National Film and Sound Archive to conduct similar urgent work.
Recommendation 11: Additional funding allocated to Support Act in the 2021-22 budget, and to continue to monitor and assess the need for further funding as the public health emergency continues. The Committee invites Support Act to update the Committee on its work by June 2022.
Recommendation 12: The Commonwealth, State and Territory Education Ministers Meeting consider adding a fourth cross-curriculum priority: ‘the Arts’. The Committee recommends that this priority be in addition to (and not a replacement for) the arts as a key learning area.
Recommendation 13: Establish a minimum threshold of Australian-authored literary texts in the Australian Curriculum.
Recommendation 14: The criteria for capital expenditure set out in the Australian Education Act 2013 (provided for in the Capital Grants Program), include expenditure relating to equipment and facilities for arts, performance and cultural activities.
Recommendation 15: Additional funding to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to produce the Cultural and Creative Satellite Accounts annually, gather and publish data on levels and type of employment, trends, revenue, geographic trends across the creative and cultural industries.
Recommendation 16: The Australian Bureau of Statistics to add questions to the Census, which better account for the professions of those working in gig economies, and across the creative and cultural industries with recognition of paid and unpaid work.
Recommendation 17: To ensures that the patent box tax regime is extended to intellectual property relating to the creation of video games and related technology in Australia.
Recommendation 18: To investigate the delivery of an ‘Art Starter’ portal containing information for artists, and those engaged in the creative economy, at all stages of their careers, in consultation with other states and peak bodies. The portal should include information on financial literacy, licensing, digital literacy, monetisation among other professional needs.
Recommendation 19: To investigate ways in which to support regional peak bodies for the creative and cultural arts industries and institutions.
Recommendation 20: In collaboration with the Australia Council for the Arts, establish a new ‘Local Artistic Champions Program’ (akin to the existing Local Sporting Champions Program) to enable emerging Australian student artists, musicians, authors, playwrights, filmmakers, digital artists and game developers to apply for grants to support attendance at competitions, exhibitions, skills development courses relevant to their craft.
Recommendation 21: To establish a Music Access Assistance Program to increase active participation of school students, particularly in low socio-economic, rural and regional areas, in musical endeavours, and access to books and equipment.
Recommendation 22: The Committee recommends that the relevant Commonwealth minister(s) report on the progress of the Committee’s recommendations by December 2022.