The vision for Creative Australia

Adrian Collette, AM, CEO, Australia Council Fri, 30 Jun 2023

Philanthropy plays a key role in the vision for Creative Australia and the long-term sustainability of our artists and creative industries, writes Adrian Collette, AM.

Following the release of Revive, a new cultural policy for the nation and the first in a decade, the Australia Council for the Arts will soon become Creative Australia. A modern Creative Australia will be a bigger and bolder champion and investor in Australian arts and creativity with a stronger focus on building public and private partnerships for more sustainable economic, cultural, and social impact.

With artists at the heart of what we do, Creative Australia will connect Australian stories with audiences and build the marketplace for those stories to be shared on a national and international scale – enhancing our reputation and bringing our rich culture to the world.    

Creative Australia will include new dedicated functions within its structure, which will come into effect over the next four years: Music Australia, Creative Workplaces, a First Nations Board, and Writers Australia. Creative Partnerships Australia will transfer across effective from 1 July this year. It is important to note that the functions of Creative Partnerships Australia are embedded in the legislation for Creative Australia. This means our commitment to continuing the work of supporting private investment in the arts is now enshrined in law.

This is a historic moment, expanding the Australian Government’s arts investment to stimulate long term sustainability for artists and the creative industries by bringing together public, private, and commercial interests in establishing Creative Australia. As well as producing important intrinsic value, investment in Australia’s arts and creativity unlocks social, reputational, and economic value throughout the cultural and creative industries and beyond.

In concert with like-minded partners, philanthropy can drive innovation, risk taking and piloting new approaches to tackle challenges that require deep relationships and sustained engagement to address. Philanthropic investment is fundamental to supporting longer-term systemic work to enable future-building and structural change.

In a recent policy submission to the Productivity Commission, the Australia Council recommended that arts philanthropy be recognised as an important contributor to realise the Australian Government’s ambitions to double private giving by 2030.

By way of example, our Australian Cultural Fund (ACF) provides an efficient mechanism to help the Australian Government meet its target to double giving by 2030. The ACF is a fee-free platform that supports and enables private giving to and through the arts and explores ways to incentivise continued philanthropic giving to arts and culture.

Through Amplify, a program of the ACF we collaborate with foundations to create bespoke funding models to achieve impactful grant-making. Amplify facilitates the distribution of multi-year funding via the ACF, allowing Public and Private Ancillary Funds to support artists and organisations that do not have Deductible Gift Recipient status. This focus on flexible, best-practice grant-making through the ACF also promotes increased philanthropy with the ability to claim tax deductibility.

Philanthropic investment in the arts is an investment in Australia’s future.  It can also help address complex social problems by connecting audiences to each other, new ideas, healthier communities and the world. Australian arts and creativity are among our most powerful assets, playing essential roles in health, wellbeing, education, innovation, identity, advancement, economy, regional tourism, and our international reputation.

Our largest example of public and private partnerships includes Australia’s presentation at the Venice Biennale – as one of only 29 countries with a national presence in the official Giardini della Biennale of Venice. Australia’s presentation within the Venice Biennale offers a dynamic platform where leading Australian contemporary art engages in global conversations that both reflect and look forward, respecting the importance and contested nature of history while embracing a future sense of Australia. The project has been philanthropically supported by Australians since the early 1980s. In 2024, we will mark the 25th edition of Australia’s participation in the Venice Biennale, the world’s oldest and arguably biggest international contemporary visual art event. 

In February, the Australia Council announced that leading First Nations artist Archie Moore will present at the Australia Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2024, with the exhibition to be curated by Ellie Buttrose. Moore is a Kamilaroi/Bigambul contemporary artist whose career has spanned more than 25 years. He works across a range of media to create artworks that explore both personal and political themes.

Co-investment for this next Venice Biennale is championed by our Venice Biennale Ambassadors led by Robert Morgan, Chair of the Australia Council Board. Robert is joined and supported by national ambassadors Alexandra Dimos, Russell James OAM, Marie-Louise Theile, Alenka Tindale, and Dr Terry Wu.

As we embark on this exciting transformation, we would like to acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of the philanthropic community, whose investments, commitment, and insights strengthen Australia’s creative industries and empower Australian creativity to add value in a multitude of ways.

Supported by our evidence-based research and our collective industry knowledge and networks, I am confident this next decade will see a significant advancement in powerful new collaborations, long-term strategic development, and values-based innovations.