Writers Victoria welcomes the release of Creative Australia, the new National Cultural Policy launched by Arts Minister Simon Crean yesterday afternoon.
Here’s a quick summary of what the National Cultural Policy will mean for Victorian writers.
The $10.3m increase to the Public Lending Right scheme is a very welcome addition to all those published writers who already have books in library circulation. And a $600,000 bump in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards will also be a boon for our more established writers.
Community language funding of $13.9m will reinvigorate the use and teaching of Indigenous languages and provide some opportunities to Indigenous writers.
“But it’s the significant increase in funding going to the Australia Council, along with the extension of the ArtStart grants program and a new investment in artistic career development that will have the most direct benefit for our next generation of writers, poets and playwrights,” said Writers Victoria’s incoming Director, Kate Larsen.
Songwriters will also get a leg up through $1.25 million to address career pathways in the contemporary music industry.
The changes to arts education are exciting too. For the first time, all Australian school children will be guaranteed an arts education. But we were disappointed to see that literature is not one of the five arts subjects specifically mentioned. We can only assume that this is because it’s already being covered under the English curriculum.
The policy also skirts over the massive changes currently facing the publishing industry. And while it’s good to see the government’s commitment to continue to build on the National Arts and Disability Strategy, but it’s a shame it also didn’t take the opportunity to demonstrate how it will be resourced. “Demand for our Write Ability program has been overwhelming,” Kate said, “so it’s important that targeted initiatives for writers with disability like this continue to be supported now that the three-year National Arts and Disability Strategy has come to an end.”
Overall, the National Cultural Policy brings good news for Victorian writers. We look forward to what comes next.