National Cultural Policy: A Renewed Commitment To The Arts

Ausdance VIC welcomes the federal government’s $300m National Cultural Policy Revive, which signals a renewed commitment to funding, inclusion, access and equity for the arts sector.

“The restoration of Arts Council funding and the additional investment announced by Arts Minister Tony Burke is a welcome boost for all artists and audiences. We were also pleased to see Ausdance network affiliate, the Indigenous-led NAISDA Dance College, receive direct funding of $5 million for upgrades to its campus at Kariong on the NSW Central Coast.”

Ausdance VIC executive director, Michelle Silby
National Cultural Policy - Revive: A Place For Every Story, A Story For Every Place
National Cultural Policy – Revive: A Place For Every Story, A Story For Every Place

First Nations First

The five-year plan to renew and revive Australia’s arts, entertainment and cultural sector is built around five interconnected pillars led by “First Nations First”.

“The government has sent a clear signal that all organisations across the sector must quickly get up to speed with cultural protocols and measures that both embed and protect First Nations interests,” Ms Silby says. “Ausdance VIC is already on that journey and we will be seeking more advice as we work to lead the dance community along the road to First Nations reconciliation.”

Central to the new policy is the idea of “a place for every story, a story for every place”. This is certainly something that the dance community in Victoria understands. Many of our member groups are location-based and generate story-telling that reflects their geographic or social location so this will be an aspect of the Revive policy that they can embrace and work with.

Another key pillar the government identified is “Strong Cultural Infrastructure” which focuses on strengthening both the physical and intellectual infrastructure of the arts sector. We are hopeful this means smaller organisations like Ausdance VIC will be eligible for federal funding in the future to sustain both advocacy and project-based work.

Addressing the precarious nature of arts employment

Ausdance VIC is pleased that the national cultural policy has dedicated resources and actions to address the precarious nature of arts employment, particularly for visual and performing artists who often work seasonally. Many dancers don’t have regular work or income which means they miss out on benefits like sick leave and superannuation.

“We heard about precarious work and the impacts it has on dancers through the ThinkTank Dance Assembly process in 2020-21,” Ms Silby says. “We understand there is work to do at both state and federal levels to address issues like award coverage, minimum pay and job security.”

Looking ahead

The advocacy work Ausdance VIC undertakes plays its part in influencing governments at the state and federal levels. Our participation in the drafting of submissions from the Ausdance national network and the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) was important work, but it is just the beginning. We will continue to collaborate with our partners across the sector to build upon the new foundations set down in Revive.

“The national cultural policy is a new start after the pandemic lockdowns, and we look forward to helping the dance sector re-establish its roots and grow again.”

Ms Silby