Ambitious vision for creative industries in Victoria

The Creative Industries Taskforce has delivered 42 recommendations for a better-funded creative sector delivering economic and social benefits.
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Art Tram 3509 by Brook Andrew; image via

Victoria will get a new Creative Industries Council (CIC) to back creative talent, strengthen the industry ecology and maximise economic benefits to the State.

The Council will be charged with implementing Government’s Creative Industry’s Strategy, based on the recommendations of the Creative Industries Taskforce, which delivered its report to the Minister tonight.

The Taskforce has recommended a Creators’ Fund to provide new fellowships for creative practitioners, accelerator programs for cultural entrepreneurs and new funding to build international exposure. It also wants more residencies for creative practitioners and fellowships for world-leading practitioners and expats to be based in Victoria.

Also on the cards is a Commissioning Fund to generate landmark Victorian creative works and new co-working spaces and hubs to activate under-utilised spaces for creative use.

Other ideas are a new creative hub: a ‘House of World Cultures’ which would profile Victoria’s diversity of cultural expressions and be a tourist attraction and an annual Regional Centre of Culture, would would provide a year-long celebration of the cultural assets of a particular region.

The Taskforce also recommended a range of initiatives to strength integration of the arts into society, including replacing the push for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Education with STEAM, to include Arts.

The report outlines 42 initiatives for government consideration that the Taskforce believes would grow Victoria’s $23 billion creative and cultural economy.  The recommendations are available for public comment ahead of the release of the Government’s creative industries strategy next year.

The Minister for the Arts Martin Foley has committed himself to establishing the CIC and said he would chair the Council to oversee the implementation of the government’s strategy.

‘We will use this report as a launching pad to deliver a creative industries plan to build the jobs, opportunities and experiences of the future.’

The taskforce has recommended the Council establish a statewide festivals strategy, a cultural and creative education in schools plan; a new strategy for design and • facilitated access to finance for creative projects and businesses.

To improve the creative industry ecology the Taskforce has recommended changes to both grants structures and the business environment including:  

  • Reforming current programs, including Organisations Investment Program and VicArts Grants, ensuring to ensure funding remains available to those who need it, minimise administrative burdens and respond to the Commonwealth Government’s arts funding.
  • Reinstating indexation for Government-funded cultural organisations
  • Developing an enterprise funding model, particularly for screen businesses, that builds long-term rather than depending on project-funding
  • Incentives for large cultural organisations to provide secondments or training to smaller organisations and for resource sharing
  • Retaining and securing more major events
  • Pro-bono business advisors who can be accesses by creative businesses
  • a Precincts Director to activate creative spaces across the State
  • Activating or reactivating co-working spaces or hubs
  • An Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Plan including specific Indigenous creative spaces and an Indigenous multi-arts platform festival.

Recognising the wider economic and social benefits of cultural vitality, the Taskforce recommended a program that brokers and seeds opportunities for Government departments to experiment with Victoria’s creative services, such as using music to improve health outcomes; game technology to engage at-risk students in education;  or art programs to improve justice outcomes. Creative

It also recommended better benefit analysis including a template to guide local government in quantifying the economic and social value and impact of cultural activities.

To increase participation and access for young people it wants embedded arts programs in all schools and a mechanism for subsidised entry into cultural events.

It also recommended establishing an open data resource platform which would capture information about consumer’s cultural activity (with privacy controls) and could be used both by arts organisations targeting audiences and to provide detailed insights into the arts.  

The Taskforce recommended a suite of initiatives to capture international opportunities including building stronger relationships between cultural showcases and market events or trade missions; developing Visit Victoria campaigns and leveraging from current strengths in screen and digital games.

The Taskforce received 10,000 submissions from members of Victoria’s cultural and creative industries and the broader public.

The full report can be accessed at Creative Victoria, which will aslo be hosting a facility for comment.

Deborah Stone
About the Author
Deborah Stone is a Melbourne journalist and communications professional. She is a former Editor of ArtsHub and a former Fairfax feature writer.