The Gillard government’s highly-anticipated National Cultural Policy has been put off to a later date due to a tightening of the purse strings in the lead up to the budget, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The policy is the first document of its kind to be published for nearly two decades and aims to provide a coherent set of strategies for arts and culture spending, which currently sits at $740 million annually.
According to the Herald, Arts Minister Simon Crean had hoped to release the policy at the same time as the federal budget, but the government’s commitment to return the budget to surplus – with no spare change for an arts policy – means these plans have been sunk.
A discussion paper on the National Cultural Policy was released in August, which collated contributions from a variety of cultural organisations from across Australia to determine needs and pressures of the arts community.
The National Cultural Policy is still hoped to be released this year, and will provide strategic scaffolding for Australian Government support for arts, culture and creativity for the next decade.
Mr Crean has also commissioned a review into the Australia Council to determine its relevance as well as the Mitchell Review into private sector support for the arts.
The National Cultural Policy has four key “goals”: to reflect the diversity of contemporary Australia, and protect Indigenous culture; to encourage the use of emerging technologies; to strengthen the role of the arts in telling Australian stories; and to strengthen the capacity of the arts to contribute to our economy and society.
Unfortunately, when economic times are tight, the arts are the first on the chopping block and this instance is no different.
There has been no cultural policy since 1994, when Prime Minister Paul Keating released “Creative Nation”. More information about Federal Arts funding will be released with the entire budget on Tuesday.