Monday, September 21, 2015

Full circle – where next for Australian national arts and culture support in the 21st Century?

With a Coalition Government which now stands a far better chance of being re-elected for a second term, the transfer of the Commonwealth’s Arts Ministry to Communications helps get arts and culture back onto larger and more contemporary agendas. This move reflects that fact that the new industries in the knowledge economy of the future, with its core of creative industries and its links to our cultural landscape, are both clever and clean. Where they differ completely from other knowledge economy sectors is that, because they are based on content, they draw on, intersect with and contribute to Australia’s national and local culture and are a central part of projecting Australia’s story to ourselves and to the world. In that sense they have a strategic importance that other sectors do not.

I used to joke that in my almost 15 years working in the Commonwealth Arts Ministry, without ever deliberately changing jobs, I managed to move around the national public service like a comet roaming the far reaches of space. Just as comets reappear at regular extended intervals to terrify the inhabitants on the planet below, the Arts Ministry has reappeared in the sky above the Department of Communications to re-establish Communications and the Arts after nearly eight years of absence.

Leadership challenge over breakfast with 'The Age'

I started with Arts in the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts in late 2000 and then, with the election of the Rudd Labor Government in 2007, began a series of moves to four different departments over the next six years. Arts traveled from Communications to Environment, then to Prime Minister and Cabinet, on to Regional and finally to Attorney-General's. Now, Arts has returned to where I first started.

There was a faint hint of this return during the week, with some passing speculation that Hockey might move to Communications with Arts added, but it was no more than that. This reminded me of a memory I had of a conversation with Dan Rosen, former Arts Adviser to Richard Alston, many years ago at a copyright industry launch at Parliament house after Arts had moved to Environment, with Peter Garrett as Minister.

'In my years in the Commonwealth Arts Ministry, without ever deliberately changing jobs, I managed to move around the national public service like a comet roaming the far reaches of space.'

Rosen had become the Chief Executive Officer of one of the key copyright industry bodies, the Australian Recording Industry Association, but he was clearly still close to Coalition staffers and went off afterwards to have dinner with someone from Abbott's office. He asked me where Arts was under the new Rudd Government. I said we were in Environment and his emphatic response was that this was a bad move and Arts belonged with Communications. Perhaps his view was more widely shared in Coalition circles than I realised. More to the point, perhaps it was simply shared by Turnbull, who had, after all, been Minister for Communications and recognised the shape of the industries of the future.

A positive change?
Is this change in the Government and the move to a new old department a positive one? There have inevitably been comments that Turnbull represents the big end of town. Of course he does, the Liberal Party always has and he is part and parcel of the big end. The difference is he represents the new industries in the big end of town more than Abbott, who stood firmly with the old, declining industries.

Time will tell whether a move from Brandis as Minister is an improvement. However, within the context of a Coalition Government, which now stands a far better chance of being re-elected for a second term, if it helps get arts and culture back onto larger and more contemporary agendas ­– something that wasn't happening with Brandis ­– it has to be better.

I think it will be better. There is value in being with the Attorney-General's Department simply because intellectual property is probably one of the biggest issues for arts and culture, including for Indigenous culture, but as long as Arts is with Brandis it will always be narrow and rigid – and definitely almost always about the big end of town.

Mitch Fifield is the new Minister for Communications and the Arts. We don’t know a lot about him. He has been responsible for the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I have no idea what he will be like as a Minister – and that can be a decisive factor at the portfolio level.

Thinking big about arts and culture
However, if we want to think big about arts and culture and talk about its relationship to creative industries and the knowledge economy, then this is a better portfolio. I also think that Turnbull's focus on the economy and his economic literacy – something Abbott had no clue about – will benefit understanding of the broader role and importance of the culture sector.

My main worry is what will all this change means for Indigenous matters? Not more of Mal Brough I hope, a key Turnbull backer and the architect of the Northern Territory Intervention. Indigenous Affairs have not been a central issue for Turnbull. Perhaps his focus on the economy and the industries of the future will enable a more sophisticated understanding of the role of Indigenous culture in building an economy that serves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people better, rather than a crude focus on mining jobs.

Thinking about creative industries and the knowledge economy underlines the fact that expertise, specialist skills and industry pockets can occur just about anywhere, as long as you have connectivity, talent and a framework of support that makes it possible. The New Zealanders long ago recognised that the creative industries and design were the way of the future.

Many places, both urban and regional, are able to be an industrial base for the creative industries, even without being one of the two main cities in Australia, like Sydney or Melbourne. Whereas once the future of a city or town depended on traditional manufacturing, like a local car manufacturing infrastructure – now on the way out – new, cleaner industries are taking its place.

Knowledge about the knowledge economy
Increasingly the new industries in the knowledge economy of the future, with its core of creative industries and its links to our cultural landscape are both clever and clean. They are mainly service industries that make up the knowledge economy, based on intellectual enquiry and research and exhibiting both innovative services or products and also new and innovative ways of doing business.

At their heart are the developing creative industries which are based on the power of creativity and are a critical part of Australia’s future – clean, innovative, in most cases centred on small business and closely linked to the profile of Australia as a clever country, both domestically and internationally.

‘Increasingly the new industries in the knowledge economy of the future, with its core of creative industries and its links to our cultural landscape are both clever and clean.’

The main downside for those working in the sector is that though these industries may often – but not always – pay relatively well, they, like most arts and culture jobs as well, tend to be short-term, project-based and, as with most small business environments, precarious and subject to the vagaries of global markets.

Where the creative industries differ completely from other knowledge economy sectors is that, because they are based on content, they draw on, intersect with and contribute to Australia’s national and local culture and are a central part of projecting Australia’s story to ourselves and to the world. In that sense they have a strategic importance that other sectors do not. As part of Australia's culture sector they share the critical function of managing meaning, which distinguishes this sector from other parts of the knowledge economy.

Linked to social challenges
They are also closely linked to central social challenges Australia faces, such as responding effectively and productively to cultural diversity and Indigenous disadvantage. These industries depend on innovation and innovation occurs where cultures intersect and differing world-views come into contact and fixed ideas and old ways of doing things are challenged and assessed.

Their focus on content has other implications. In attempting to address the major issue of Indigenous disadvantage, to take just one example, it is critical to recognise that one of the most important economic resources possessed by Indigenous communities is their culture. Creative firms are already developing which draw on that cultural content. Through the intellectual property that translates it into a form that can generate income in a contemporary economy, that culture is pivotal to jobs and to income. It may not be mining but they mine a far richer seam – authentic and rich content that has already been recognised internationally for its high value, just like our iron and coal.

The other powerful factor for creative industries is the role of urban and regional cities, as places both where modern life occurs in all its diversity and where the innovation the modern economy depends upon occurs. Turnbull has clearly recognised and begun to respond to this.

Transforming the political landscape
These changes in the economic life of the nation are also linked to the way the new knowledge economy is transforming the political landscape of Australia, challenging old political franchises and upping the stakes in the offerings department. Near enough is not good enough any more.

Both the two mainstream parties have recognised that the contemporary political landscape has changed substantially. An article by Rick Wallace in ‘The Australian’ on 15 May, notes that the assistant secretary of the Victorian branch of the Labor Party, Kosmos Samaras, considers that it’s time for the Labor Party to accept Australia now has a three-party system, with the Greens gathering strength and posing a serious threat to both the Liberal Party and Labor. According to ‘The Australian’, in his view ‘the reason I think we now have a three-party system is simple: the Greens basically represent a new class of voter, partly created by the knowledge economy … a different person entirely (who is) a product of the complete contraction of high-income jobs to the centre of Melbourne.’

‘These changes in the economic life of the nation are also linked to the way the new knowledge economy is transforming the political landscape of Australia, challenging old political franchises and upping the stakes in the offerings department.’

Similarly Liberal Party powerbroker, Michael Kroger, the Victorian Liberal Party president, has confirmed there had been discussions within the Liberal Party on how to counter the rising Greens vote in safe Liberal seats. According to ‘The Australian’, ‘the Greens polled 22 per cent of the primary vote in Hawthorn and in the high teens in similarly well-off Brighton, Malvern, Kew and Caulfield.’ Kroger commented ‘I am concerned about the fact that the party has not really had a strategy for fighting the Greens head-on, something I propose to rectify with a campaign direct­ly aimed at Green voters in Liberal seats.’

‘The Australian’ concluded by noting that ‘The Greens primary vote has been rising slowly in Victoria, and in NSW it did not rise at all at the March election. But the problem for the major parties is concentration, with the Greens grabbing a Liberal seat in Prahran in Victoria, along with their win in Labor-held Melbourne. In NSW, despite a static primary vote, the Greens held on to Balmain and won the new seat of Newtown, while also taking regional Ballina.’ It adds that the trend is not as pronounced in NSW for the Liberals, but points out ‘analysts such as former senator John Black believe the Greens will become a force in wealthy electorates, just as they have done in Melbourne.’

Interesting times and interesting challenges
Given that the knowledge economy will become more and more prevalent and central to Australia’s economic future, I wonder what this means for Australia’s politics over the next ten years. It will be interesting times and interesting challenges for the two major parties to remake themselves. To date neither of them have shown a willingness to do so, being consumed with their mutual contest. However, Turnbull’s successful challenge is in part a reflection of these underlying social, economic and demographic forces.

A good starting point might be a more forceful recognition of the growing importance of the knowledge economy and the creative industries at its heart. That means acknowledging that Australian arts and culture cannot be understood or fostered without locating them within this broader context.

I'm not convinced Labor has re-established itself enough to be ready for government again and now having a real opponent in Turnbull may make it necessary for them to rethink what they stand for in a more fundamental way. The Labor Party may possibly announce its arts policy soon, an updated version of Creative Australia, and this will offer an opportunity to judge where it stands.

Until the last fortnight whether we would see anything comparable from the Liberal Party seemed doubtful, given the way much of its version of arts support seemed to be little more than a personal playground for Senator Brandis. It will be an interesting 12 months ahead as we see where everyone and anyone stands on support for Australia’s arts, culture and creative industries. Meanwhile the world evolves to make them more and more central and essential to our future.

Postscript
Following the Ministerial reshuffle announced by Malcolm Turnbull two days ago there are still outstanding issues. I don’t think the move of the Ministry for the Arts to Communications will necessarily address the problem created by the transfer of substantial chunks of funding from the Australia Council to the new National Program for Excellence in the Arts within the Ministry for the Arts. Unlike the Labor Party the Coalition had traditionally not been keen on statutory bodies, preferring to keep tighter control through departments. Naturally departments also like this and are inclined to brief new Ministers in support of this position.

There are several factors in favour of a successful reversal of the transfer. Firstly it was not a Government position but simply a personal initiative by Brandis, delivered through administrative changes with no change to the overall Budget. Secondly a new Prime Minister has enough battles to fight – including with the ideologues within his own party – and is unlikely to seek more, especially with a constituency he is sympathetic to and which is good at communications in the lead up to an election. With the Labor Party promising to reverse the transfer, minimising small points of difference like this could be of value as Turnbull’s approval rating inevitably starts to slide once the honeymoon period recedes. A new Minister, especially one being promoted, will want to get off on the right foot at the start.

On the other hand, for just this reason, Turnbull may be reluctant to antagonise Brandis over something that is not a government priority, needing all the allies he can keep. It will be interesting to see which way the new Minister moves. If a reversal is to happen it will be now or never.

See also

Quadruple whammy – the long-running factors that together threaten our cultural future 
‘The real danger for Australia’s arts and culture is not funding cuts but steady, unending neglect. The decline of Government arts and culture support can be attributed to four long-running factors. This I call a quadruple whammy, caused by lack of indexation, the cumulative effect of ‘efficiency dividends’, the trend towards project funding rather than operational funding and falling behind as the population and economy expands’, Quadruple whammy – the long-running factors that together threaten our cultural future.

The big picture and long view – creating a cultural future
‘The never-ending election campaign that became the never-ending election tally has turned into the unpredictable second term government. What does this new world of fragmented politics mean for Australian arts and culture and the organisations, artists and communities which live it and advance it? There are a series of major factors which are hammering arts and culture organisations. These intersect and mutually reinforce one another to produce a cumulative and compounding long term disastrous impact. All this is happening in a context where there is no strategic policy or overview to guide Government. It is critical for the future that the arts and culture sector think broadly about arts and culture, build broad alliances and partnerships, never forget its underlying values and draw on its inherent creativity to help create a society based firmly on arts and culture’, The big picture and long view – creating a cultural future.

Election mode for Australian arts and culture – a policy-free zone?
‘A policy and the understanding of issues that leads to its adoption, provides arts and culture with a stature that underpins funding by providing a rationale for support. Otherwise funding will always be ad hoc and insecure, piecemeal, project-based, intermittent and at the mercy of whim and fashion. We have to get arts and culture to the stage where it is seen like public health or education and debated accordingly’, Election mode for Australian arts and culture – a policy-free zone?

Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst – the looming failure of arts support 
‘In the slowly unravelling universe of arts and culture support, organisations – whether they be small arts organisations or the largest of national cultural institutions – need to think seriously about their future. They need to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. This means developing strategies to survive the combination of drastic cuts and slow erosion already occurring and likely to continue into the foreseeable – and unpredictable – future’, Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst – the looming failure of arts support.

Creativity at work – economic engine for our cities
‘It is becoming abundantly clear that in our contemporary world two critical things will help shape the way we make a living – and our economy overall. The first is the central role of cities in generating wealth. The second is the knowledge economy of the future and, more particularly, the creative industries that sit at its heart. In Sydney, Australia’s largest city, both of these come together in a scattering of evolving creative clusters – concentrations of creative individuals and small businesses, clumped together in geographic proximity. This development is part of a national and world-wide trend which has profound implications’, Creativity at work – economic engine for our cities.

Lies, damned lies and lies about statistics – how population growth will magnify the impact of arts and culture cuts
‘I’ve said before that the traditional saying about ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’, should instead refer to ‘lies, damned lies and lies about statistics’. Cuts to national arts and cultural funding, while relatively small each year, have a cumulative effect far greater than at first appears and, in the long run, will undermine the effectiveness of national arts and culture support. Where the real disastrous impact of these cuts will hit home is when we also factor in the impact of population growth. If anything, there needs to be an expansion of arts and cultural funding to service the growth’, Lies, damned lies and lies about statistics – how population growth will magnify the impact of arts and culture cuts.

Arts and culture part of everyday life and on the main agenda
‘There’s an election in the air and I was thinking about what would be a good list of positive improvements that would benefit Australia’s arts and culture, so I jotted down some ideas. They are about recognising arts and culture as a central part of everyday life and an essential component of the big agenda for Australia. They are about where the knowledge economy, creative industries and arts and culture fit, how arts and culture explain what it means to be Australian and how they are a valuable means of addressing pressing social challenges’, Arts and culture part of everyday life and on the main agenda.

Arts funding – it’s not all about the money
‘National Arts Minister, Mitch Fifield, has said that being a strong advocate for the arts doesn’t mean delivering government funding and that an arts Minister or a government shouldn’t be judged just on the quantum of money the government puts in. This sidesteps the Government’s very real problems that it has muddied the waters of existing arts funding, cutting many worthwhile organisations loose with no reason, that rather than delivering arts funding, it has reduced it significantly, and that it has no coherent strategy or policy to guide its arts decisions or direction. The real issue is that a national framework, strategy or policy for arts and culture support underpins and provides a rationale for arts funding – and is far more important’, Arts funding – it’s not all about the money.

The immense potential of creative industries for regional revival
‘Across Australia, local communities facing major economic and social challenges have become interested in the joint potential of regional arts and local creative industries to contribute to or often lead regional revival. This has paralleled the increasing importance of our major cities as economic hubs and centres of innovation’, The immense potential of creative industries for regional revival.

National arts policy – excelling in the mediocrity stakes
‘I am not too concerned who manages national arts funding. Both the Australia Council and the Ministry for the Arts have long managed numerous funding programs. I am more concerned about what is funded. The fact that the national pool of arts funding available to support the operational costs of smaller arts and cultural organisations has shrunk substantially is a deep concern. Watch as Australia’s arts and culture sector reels over the next five years from this exceptionally bad policy decision – and expect the early warning signs much sooner. Well- known and respected figures in the arts and culture sector have been expressing this concern sharply’, National arts policy – excelling in the mediocrity stakes.

Collateral damage – the creeping cumulative impact of national arts cuts 
‘Asked in the most recent Senate Additional Estimates hearings about cuts to Ministry for the Arts funding in the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook review, the Department of Communications and the Arts replied that there were cuts of $9.6m over the forward estimates. This seriously understates the cumulative long-term magnitude and effect of these cuts and underestimates, just as with the national cultural institutions, the long-term damage. Yet this is the real and permanent impact – a compound effect of creeping cuts’, Collateral damage – the creeping cumulative impact of national arts cuts.

Smoking gun – the invisible cuts to national arts and culture funding 
‘The transfer of substantial program funds from the Australian Government’s main arts funding agency, the Australia Council, to the Ministry for the Arts has had the effect of masking serious cuts to crucial programs run by the Ministry, including its Indigenous cultural programs. There have been cuts to overall Ministry program funds stretching long into the future almost every year since the 2014-15 budget, with the long-term trend clearly heading downwards’, Smoking gun – the invisible cuts to national arts and culture funding.

Arts funding changes on the run – doing less with less
‘The announcement by new Arts Minister, Mitch Fifield that he will step back to a degree from the decision of his predecessor about national arts funding is a good call – but not good enough. This is what happens when there is no policy framework or set of strategic principles guiding changes to programs or development of new programs. Flexibility is an excellent thing and so are attempts to develop new programs to support areas that might not have been able to gain support before. The problem is ad hoc policy on the run is no substitute for carefully thought through changes. In a context where there have been significant long term cuts to arts and culture funding in the last two budgets, particularly the 2014-15 one, these changes only worsen the situation’, Arts funding changes on the run – doing less with less.

National arts and culture funding – follow the money
‘In the continuing furore over the transfer of funds from the Australia Council to the Ministry for the Arts in the 2015-16 budget, most of the focus to date has been on the Australia Council. What has been happening to the funding of the Ministry for the Arts itself? Based on the publically available budget figures since 2012, it is possible to compare the level of program funding managed by the Ministry for the Arts and see the reduction in funding following the election of the current Government’, National arts and culture funding - follow the money.

Cut to the bone – the accelerating decline of our major cultural institutions and its impact on Australia’s national heritage and economy
‘I always thought that long after all else has gone, after government has pruned and prioritised and slashed and bashed arts and cultural support, the national cultural institutions would still remain. They are one of the largest single items of Australian Government cultural funding and one of the longest supported and they would be likely to be the last to go, even with the most miserly and mean-spirited and short sighted of governments. However, in a finale to a series of cumulative cuts over recent years, they have seen their capabilities to carry out their essential core roles eroded beyond repair. The long term impact of these cumulative changes will be major and unexpected, magnifying over time as each small change reinforces the others. The likelihood is that this will lead to irreversible damage to the contemporary culture and cultural heritage of the nation at a crucial crossroads in its history’, Cut to the bone – the accelerating decline of our major cultural institutions and its impact on Australia’s national heritage and economy.

Greater than the sum of the parts: cultural funding and the power of diversity 
‘Cultural diversity underpins so much of value in Australia. It helps ensure innovation flourishes, because where cultures intersect, differing world-views come into contact and fixed ideas and old ways of doing things are challenged. This is essential to the new clever and clean industries in the knowledge economy of the future, with its core of creative industries and its links to our cultural landscape. The national Indigenous cultural programs play a critical role in support for both Indigenous communities and for a diverse and dynamic Australian culture. What is clear is that these programs have been affected by the range of cuts as part of the search for savings since the Coalition Government took office. Funding community organisations for services government would otherwise have to provide is a great way to get things on the cheap. If you don’t fund them at all, it’s even cheaper’, Greater than the sum of the parts: cultural funding and the power of diversity.

Notes from a steadily shrinking universe
‘Following the Big Bang the universe may have been steadily expanding but in the world of Australian Government arts and culture the universe has definitely been heading the other way. In the end does government of any shade really think at heart that Australian arts and culture is important? Why should it when it’s a vexed question for our society as a whole and we are ambivalent about its worth? Yet this part of the Australian Government’s public service is incredibly important. To have a real impact though, it needs to be refocused and reinvigorated to operate once again across the broader government landscape’, Notes from a steadily shrinking universe.

Design for policy innovation – from the world of design to designing the world
‘Design and the language of design is very broad – much broader than architecture or industrial or graphic design – the forms we are most conscious of. Design is also very much about processes and the development of concepts across almost all areas of human activity. This means it also has a high relevance to the development of policy to solve pressing social challenges, moving beyond the world of design to embrace the design of the world. In a highlight of DESIGN Canberra this year, respected Dutch presenter Ingrid Van der Wacht led discussion about the relevance of design to innovative policy – from local, highly specific policy to grand strategic policy designed to change whole regions and even nations’, Design for policy innovation – from the world of design to designing the world.

Land of hope
‘There were times in our past when Australia was seen as the great hope of the world – when it offered a vision of a new democratic life free from the failures of the past and the old world. It seems we have turned from our history, from the bright vision of the nineteenth century and the great nation-building vision of the period after World War 2, with its sense of optimism and fairness, towards something much more pinched and narrow – mean and weak-willed. For such an optimistic nation we seem to have developed a ‘half empty’ rather than ‘half full’ view of the glass – and the world. If we want to live in a land to be proud of, a fair country that truly inherits the best of Australia’s traditions, while consciously abandoning the less desirable ones, we need to change course – otherwise we will have to rebadge Australia not as the land of hope but instead as the land without hope’, Land of hope.

A navigator on a Lancaster bomber
‘Sometimes I think Australia has lost its way. It’s like a ship that has sailed into the vast Pacific Ocean in search of gaudy treasure, glimpsed the beckoning coast of Asia and then lost its bearings, all its charts blown overboard in squalls and tempests. It seems to have turned from the great nation-building vision of the period after World War 2, with its sense of optimism and fairness, towards something much more pinched and narrow. It’s time to rediscover the Australian dream. We need a navigator – or perhaps many, one in every community – who can help us find our way, encourage us as we navigate from greed and complacency to a calmer shining ocean of generosity and optimism’, A navigator on a Lancaster bomber.

Time for the big picture and long view for arts and culture
‘A far more important issue than arts funding is how can the broad arts and cultural sector become a better organised, effective voice for arts and culture and its wider importance for Australia? Changes like this happen because they are able to happen – because decision-makers think they can get away with it. The arts and culture sector and its supporters have to be influential enough that decision-makers think carefully about the importance and the standing of Australia’s arts and culture and weigh any decisions they make carefully in terms of the strategic needs of the sector. These current dire circumstances may provide the opportunity we have needed to look seriously at this question’, Time for the big picture and long view for arts and culture.

The Magna Carta – still a work in progress
‘You don’t have to be part of ‘Indigenous affairs’ in Australia to find yourself involved. You can’t even begin to think of being part of support for Australian arts and culture without encountering and interacting with Indigenous culture and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and individuals who make it and live it.’ The Magna Carta – still a work in progress.

Valuing the intangible
‘We are surrounded by intangible cultural heritage – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – and often it’s incredibly important to us but we can’t seem to understand why or put a name to its importance. So many issues of paramount importance to Australia and its future are linked to the broad cultural agenda of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). In particular they are central to one of UNESCO’s key treaties, the International Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.’ Valuing the intangible.

Out from the shadows – the other Arts Minister
‘I ventured out through the dark wilds of the Australian National University to hear the Opposition Spokesperson on the Arts, Mark Dreyfus, share his view of what a contemporary arts and culture policy might look like. It was a timely moment, given the turmoil stirred up by recent changes to national arts funding arrangements and the #freethearts response from small arts and cultural organisations and artists. Luckily, as he himself noted, he has a very recent model to work with. The National Cultural Policy is little more than two years old,’ Out from the shadows – the other Arts Minister.

‘Arts’ policy and culture – let's not reinvent the wheel
‘Faced with the increasing prospect that it could become the next Australian Government, the Labor Party is reviewing its ‘arts’ policy. Whatever happens and whoever it happens to, considered and strategic discussion of arts and culture policy is critical to Australia's future.’ ‘Arts’ policy and culture – let's not reinvent the wheel.

The clever business of creativity: the experience of supporting Australia's industries of the future
‘The swan song of the Creative Industries Innovation Centre, ‘Creative Business in Australia’, outlines the experience of five years supporting Australia’s creative industries. Case studies and wide-ranging analysis explain the critical importance of these industries to Australia’s future. The knowledge economy of the future, with its core of creative industries and its links to our cultural landscape, is both clever and clean. Where the creative industries differ completely from other knowledge economy sectors is that, because they are based on content, they draw on, intersect with and contribute to Australia’s national and local culture’, The clever business of creativity: the experience of supporting Australia's industries of the future.

Creative industries critical to vitality of Australian culture
‘The developing creative industries are a critical part of Australia’s future – clean, innovative, at their core based on small business and closely linked to the profile of Australia as a clever country, both domestically and internationally.’ Creative industries critical to vitality of Australian culture.

The language of success ­– recognising a great unsung community movement
‘What is especially significant about the Prime Minister, in his Closing the Gap address, recognising the importance of Indigenous languages is that this is the first time a Liberal leader has expressed such views. It’s exciting because for progress to be made it is essential that there is a jointly agreed position. This moment arises from the tireless work over many decades of hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language revivalists – surely one of the great positive unsung community movements in Australian history. By their hard work they have managed to change the profile of Indigenous languages in Australia. Unfortunately the address reinforced the tendency of government to overlook the success stories that are already happening in local communities and look for big institutional solutions. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be a missed opportunity’, The language of success – recognising a great unsung community movement.

The hidden universe of Australia's own languages
‘I’ve travelled around much of Australia, by foot, by plane, by train and by bus, but mostly by car. As I travelled across all those kilometres and many decades, I never realised that, without ever knowing, I would be silently crossing from one country into another, while underneath the surface of the landscape flashing past, languages were changing like the colour and shape of the grasses or the trees. The parallel universe of Indigenous languages is unfortunately an unexpected world little-known to most Australians.’ The hidden universe of Australia's own languages.

Indigenous cultural jobs – real jobs in an unreal world
'Subsidised Indigenous arts and cultural jobs are real jobs with career paths that deliver genuine skills and employment capability.' Real jobs in an unreal world.

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