Page 1946 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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MS CHEYNE: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. The ACT has always been a place for people who embrace arts, culture and creativity. Canberrans fundamentally understand the importance of arts and culture for individual and collective wellbeing, as well as the enormous economic impacts of these sectors. We know this because the statistics speak for themselves. Prior to the pandemic, the ACT had the highest attendance rate at cultural venues and events and the highest cultural participation rates ahead of all other states and territories.

The new federal government also fundamentally understands the importance of arts and culture to our wellbeing and economy. In addition to several funding announcements, the federal Labor government has committed to the development and delivery of a national cultural policy that provides a broad but comprehensive roadmap for Australia’s arts and culture that touches all areas of government. It was fantastic to see the new Minister for the Arts, Minister Burke, underline that in a statement he released last week, on his appointment.

Since the Abbott government abolished Australia’s last cultural policy in 2013, which had also been established by Labor, the Australian arts sector has languished through almost a decade of inaction and neglect. Finally, arts and culture are back on the national agenda. These sectors, including in the ACT, will benefit from a national cultural policy that guides and coordinates action, from a government that understands the vital role of arts and culture for our wellbeing and the economy. I look forward to working with the federal government and will continue to advocate for ACT artists and organisations.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, will your statement of ambition for the arts be affected by this change of government?

MS CHEYNE: I thank Mr Pettersson for the supplementary. The ACT government’s statement of ambition for the arts and its three strategies to create, develop and promote provides a lens through which our short and medium-term decisions are made, such as acting as a framework for our new ACT arts policy and arts organisation funding model.

Now, more than ever, we have a federal government that shares the same values that underpin our ambition. Those values include understanding that the arts and culture sectors are much more than simply entertainment activities and hobby interests. There are intersectional impacts for health, wellbeing, education, trade and industrial relations, tourism and democracy. They are significant drivers of economic growth.

I am encouraged that the value our government places on artists as being part of our economy, driving economic development and growth in their own right, is shared by the new federal government. It became apparent how short-sighted the previous federal government was when it excluded Australian artists and creatives from income support schemes such as JobKeeper, despite relentless advocacy from the then opposition and industry bodies.

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