Creative Australia: Missed opportunity or new paradigm for a national cultural policy?

Jennifer Craik


Creative Australia was released by the Labor government in March 2013 to general acclaim from the arts industry but little excitement beyond the citadel including the broader cultural industries. It was welcomed as bold but vulnerable, as a symbol of a new sense of national identity and confidence, as a celebration of cultural diversity, and as a driver of 'economic prosperity and innovation'. While ambitious, will it make a difference? Did the policy offer a new agenda for arts and cultural policy in Australia? The election of a conservative Coalition government in September 2013 indicated that its implementation was unlikely. This commentary argues that Creative Australia amounted to no more than broad promises that spread the largesse too widely while still offering more of the same – reluctant government propping up of a sector that had failed to innovate in ways that might make it more independent and secure. Instead, the drip-feed of government funding remained the traditional policy approach. It tinkered rather than transformed the entrenched and self-referential enclave of cosseted talents that has traditionally defined the creative parameters of Australian national identity but expected ordinary Australians who eschew elite cultural forms to act as patrons once again.



National cultural policy, government funding, patronage, national identity

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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
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