SUBMISSION: National Cultural Policy

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm from Unsplash

Arts Law recently submitted to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts on its development of a new National Cultural Policy. The government called for submissions so that it can “establish a comprehensive roadmap to guide the skills and resources required to transform and safeguard a diverse, vibrant and sustainable arts, entertainment and cultural sector now and into the future.”

The government’s National Cultural Policy is divided into five pillars based on those launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2013. In overview, Arts Law made the following submissions on those pillars:

  1. First Nations: we called for increased funding for First Nations artists and organisations; standalone legal acknowledgement and protection for Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP); and reform to the Australian Consumer Law to prevent ‘fake art’ (i.e., inauthentic Indigenous art).
  2. A Place for Every Story: to support Australian storytellers across different mediums, the government needs to invest in support services like Arts Law; protect the economic rights of storytellers in any future copyright law reform; prioritise Australian (and First Nations) content on screen; and improve funding for neglected arts areas like literature (which is the only major artform without a national plan from the Australia Council). 
  3. The Centrality of the Artist: to really honour the centrality of the artist, the government needs to address the immense financial hardship faced by artists (through direct funding and legal protection of their revenue streams); and accessible, low-cost options for creators to enforce their rights need to be created, especially to address the widespread infringement of rights on digital marketplaces. 
  4. Strong Institutions: Arts Law is only able to provide legal advice to a small proportion of Australia’s artist population (and its First Nations artist population), and our service gives artists essential legal advice to build their arts practices and businesses. Institutions like Arts Law need increased funding. Additionally, the administrative requirements for not-for-profit organisations to receive tax deductible donations should be reduced. 
  5. Reaching the Audience: audience exposure should be balanced with the need to protect artists’ rights and income. While digital distribution has improved access to content, it has also led to significant heartache and misappropriation of artists’ work. Appropriate safeguards need to accompany modern forms of distribution. 

This is the first stage of the government’s consultation for the new National Cultural Policy. Arts Law will continue to advocate for creators as this process continues. 

You can read Arts Law’s full submission here