The ASU welcomes the Gillard Government launch of the National Cultural Policy. "Creative Australia" will reform Australian Government support for the arts, cultural heritage and creative industries.
In welcoming the Government's announcement on the National Cultural Policy, ASU Assistant National Secretary, Greg McLean said, "Bringing the opportunity for local government to play an important role in the area of the arts is a natural blend of the arts community and the local community."
"The local jobs and community spend that's attached to performances and gallery exhibits, plus the engagement through local government community arts officers, gallery staff and libraries all bring the arts to our local community. This means better quality of life for the community and bring the arts to areas that may not normally benefit, as well as encouraging development of young Australians and building local employment opportunities for all. The opportunity to use the digital economy to benefit local government and the cultural and creative arts cannot be underestimated," Greg concluded.
Local government brings communities together. Councils own and operate entertainment centres, libraries, galleries and museums; they facilitate relationships between the community, creative projects and venues and provide local jobs to creative Australians. Urban, regional and rural councils have a long history supporting the creative arts, protection, promotion and conservation of cultural activities and artefacts.
Local government is the best placed level of government to promote social cohesion through cultural initiatives at the community level.
Quoting "THE FOURTH PILLAR OF SUSTAINABILITY Culture's essential role in public planning" by Jon Hawkes:
It [local government] is the tier of governance closest to the citizenry, ...the one most in touch with, and capable of being responsive to, its constituency. It is probably the best governance level at which to develop new methodologies of participatory democracy and cultural action. It is ideally placed to stimulate community debate on the values and aspirations that should inform our future, and to plan its actions in direct response to the visions of the community.
Quality local government services must be able to maintain venues where our cultural experience can be shared as well as provide local jobs. The Federal Government partnership policy or National Arts and Culture Accord, that ties together all levels of government through coordinated and collaborative support mechanisms, must effectively support investment in arts and the significant benefits that flow to communities and local economies.
Some key areas directly affecting local government include:
- Establishing a national network for museums and galleries which will be managed in partnership between the National Museum of Australia and Museums Australia.
- Coordination of local government cultural activities through the National Local Government Cultural Forum, in partnership with the Australian Local Government Association, the Global Cities Research Institute at RMIT University and the Australia Council.
- Continuing investment in Australia's cultural infrastructure through the Regional Development Australia Fund.
- Regional Arts Development Officers will continue to work with government to assist communities to improve their cultural infrastructure and promote their artistic and cultural achievements.
The ASU will be seeking further discussions with the Government on the announcement and to advocate the role of local government.