Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 25 May 2023
Page: 3673

Mr BURKE (WatsonMinister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for the Arts and Leader of the House) (09:01): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Creative Australia Bill 2023 delivers the major reform which constitutes the centrepiece of Revive. It establishes Creative Australia as a new organisation. It's part of Revive, our cultural policy, which this government has proudly adopted because what we so broadly call the arts, when you zero in on its essence, is a part of the heartbeat of the nation—the stories we tell ourselves, the pictures we paint, the songs we sing, the music we play, the sculpture, the ceramics, and all the rest of this wonderful spectrum of expression. In the end, it's a pipeline into our hearts, one that lets us see and celebrate and reflect on who we truly are and can be and one that lets the rest of the world see Australia and its inner self.

Our duty here is not just to admit but to sing out and call out loud, like so many other forces, the beating heart of the industry itself, an industry that generates jobs and money and industry that strengthens the very bones of communities. That's always been the truth of it; that artwork is just that—it's work. It's not a hobby; it's not just a higher calling or a flash of inspiration, as essential as that is; it's work. It's work that happens to make us wealthier in ways that extend far beyond the economic; it's the sort of wealth that enriches. But if you want to look at it through an economic prism, everyone who works in the arts in this country is part of a $17 billion industry. This legislation is the next step we take in treating the arts with respect and the care they deserve.

Cultural policy context

Australia's first cultural policy came from Paul Keating with arts minister Michael Lee in the form of Creative Nation. In 2013, Julia Gillard and arts minister Simon Crean gave us Creative Australia. Now 10 years on, the Albanese Labor government has delivered a cultural policy for the next five years: Revive—a place for every story; a story for every place.

The bill introduced today lays the foundation for the ambitious agenda set out in Revive, by establishing essential governance structures within Creative Australia to enable it to deliver to the sector.


The Creative Australia Bill 2023 is the second bill to implement the government's National Cultural Policy. It delivers on the government's commitment to expand and modernise the Australia Council for the Arts and to establish Creative Australia.

The bill will establish two of the four new bodies announced in Revive; Music Australia and Creative Workplaces, and the government will be bringing forward further legislation to establish the First Nations body next year and Writers Australia the following year.

The creation of the Australia Council in 1975 was a pivotal moment for Australia's arts and culture sector. It embodied the Whitlam government's unwavering belief in the value of the arts, and its ongoing commitment to delivering decisions on arts investment at arm's length from government.

Under the old model, many people saw the Australia Council for government funded art and Creative Partnerships Australia for arts philanthropy, and no-one focused on the commercial sector. But it's the same workforce. It's the same artists. And it's the same audience. Now it will all live in the same organisation.

Creative Australia

The formation of Creative Australia through this bill transforms Australia's principal arts funding body into a modern entity that is able to harness the current opportunities available to the arts and entertainment sector while bringing together public, philanthropic and commercial support for the arts. This is a strategic shift that will greater leverage opportunities in the arts.

Creative Australia will provide more support to our valued arts and culture sector through restoring the Brandis cuts and increasing funding and services for artists, arts workers and businesses.

Australia Council Board

This bill establishes the governing and accountable board for Creative Australia which will still be called the Australia Council Board—retaining its name and connection to the creation of the Australia Council by the Whitlam government. It will continue to be the accountable authority with full oversight of Creative Australia and will give directions to the Music Australia and Creative Workplaces Councils.

The board will be refreshed with increased membership of up to 14 members. This increase reflects the expanded functions of Creative Australia and will ensure that the appropriate skills and expertise are represented across its broad remit. The new Australia Council Board established under this legislation will be critical in providing leadership and direction as Creative Australia delivers on the first stages of the measures set out in Revive—Music Australia and Creative Workplaces—as well as those measures that are still to be rolled out, including the First Nations body, the works of scale fund and Writers Australia.

Music Australia

By introducing this legislation and expanding Creative Australia's functions and services, the government is responding directly to calls for change from the sector. During consultation for the national cultural policy, submissions from the contemporary music industry called for a body to be established that would develop a framework for long-term investment and strategic focus.

The bill establishes Music Australia within Creative Australia, which will empower the Australian contemporary music industry to rebuild and to realise its local and global potential. With over $69 million in funding over four years from 2023-24, Music Australia will allow for greater strategic delivery, leadership and support for Australia's contemporary music industry.

To oversee the programs and services delivered under Music Australia, the bill establishes a Music Australia Council to provide strategic advice and guidance to the Australia Council Board and to the initiatives for contemporary music to be delivered by Music Australia. The bill will ensure that the chief executive officer of Creative Australia appoints a director responsible for the work of Music Australia. This role will be crucial in ensuring that the investments to be delivered as part of Music Australia are achieved.

Music Australia will oversee a number of commitments in Revive, including:

to grow the market for contemporary Australian music;

to increase development of original music through investment in artistic creation;

to deliver songwriting and recording initiatives in schools;

to develop new strategic partnerships within and beyond the music sector, including to undertake research and data collection around key issues, including festivals and venues;

to provide ongoing support for Sounds Australia, Australia's export music market development initiative;

to support industry professionals to learn business and management skills;

to provide central coordination around access to live music venues for bands and artists;

to develop new co-investment agreements with states, territories and industry to develop national sector-wide priorities; and

to create community music hubs in high-density living areas.

Creative Workplaces

Creative Australia recognises that artists and creatives throughout our great landscape, from metropolitan cities to the red desert, are workers. In exchange for what they give us, they should have safe workplaces and be remunerated fairly.

That is why this bill sets up Creative Workplaces within Creative Australia to provide advice and support to the sector. Creative Workplaces will provide a central and safe point of call for people working in the arts and entertainment sector to seek confidential advice. It will provide advice on the appropriate channels to help resolve situations, including referrals to Safe Work Australia, the Fair Work Commission and the Australian Human Rights Commission. Creative Workplaces will deliver safer places of work and will raise and set safety standards across all art forms. Organisations seeking federal government funding will need to adhere to these standards.

To oversee the important work of Creative Workplaces, this bill establishes a Creative Workplaces Council. The council will be responsible for providing advice and guidance to the Australia Council board on the programs and services to be delivered by Creative Workplaces. Funding delivered by the council will also include $1 million annually to Support Act to make sure that this crucial service of specialised counselling and mental health support services to the music sector will continue. The bill will ensure the Chief Executive Officer of Creative Australia appoints a director of Creative Workplaces to oversee this critical and important work.


In Australia, we have not always valued the connection between the artist and their audience enough. But as we all experienced during the lockdown periods of the pandemic, we know how much we miss it when it's not there. How many of us longed to see a performance, go to a cinema, visit a gallery or be in the mosh again?

A robust creative sector involves a rich ecosystem of cultural organisations and supporting artists, arts workers and businesses. Creative Australia will be able to advocate for the sector, provide crucial services for arts workers, increase philanthropic and private giving for the arts and increase commercial avenues. This new legislation and the government's increased funding acknowledges the importance of creativity and how it spans communities, industries and borders. Australia's cultural output will grow because of this targeted investment in the arts and the establishment of these councils which will guide the strategic delivery of funding to the sector.

The next important step will be the First Nations led body within Creative Australia. This is a critical measure which requires extensive consultation with First Nations artists and arts workers, First Nations arts organisations, First Nation leaders and First Nations communities on what this should look like.

The ultimate success of Revive won't rest with the government. When you see someone who has mastered their craft expressing their culture, it reaches you. Great artists take you on a journey. A musician can do it from the first bar, an actor from their first lines, an author from the opening page, a painter from that first glimpse. This is who we are entrusting with the success of Revive.

A creative Australia is an innovative and inclusive nation where creative workers, communities and businesses thrive. In government, we play a role in fostering the creative forces of our nation and strengthening our identity through the generous voices of our creative workers. As audiences and makers of art, music, theatre and culture, it is our responsibility to cultivate and nurture the stories yet to be shared—the opportunity for Australians to deliver their own masterpieces, their own written story, their own album, that will be revered and cherished.

Our creative nation is finally being given the chance to flourish. Creative workers—workers like any other, who have bills to pay and families to feed—have the opportunity to be part of a sustainable and secure profession. What these Australians do with the cultural policy will determine the look, feel and soundtrack to life in our nation. This legislation is the foundation for artists and arts workers, enabling them to create our next national treasures, supported in this way by government. Through this new bill and the establishment of Creative Australia, Australia's arts and cultural sector will take centre stage right across the globe.

Debate adjourned.