Policies and programs of the Australia Council for the Arts and the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body
The Australia Government invests significantly in the Australia arts sector every year through the Australia Council for the Arts, which was established in 1975. The Australia Council supports creation, presentation and appreciation of distinctive cultural works by providing assistance to Australian artists and making their works accessible to the public. This develops Australia's arts and cultural sector, providing opportunities for artists and arts organisations to create, produce, distribute and disseminate artistic works that reflect a diversity of cultural expressions. In 2013-14 the Australia Council provided US$175 million in grant and project funding to artists and arts organisations. This funding includes support for Australia’s 28 major performing arts companies to create new artistic works and present and promote their work, and funding for professional development opportunities such as residencies and fellowships. In 2007, the Australia Council introduced a Cultural Engagement Framework aimed at ensuring equity of access to Australia Council grants and initiatives, under which it has a Disability Action Plan for 2014-16. It also allots dedicated funding to its Artists with Disability program. The Australia Council provides specific support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts practice, including the development and promotion of traditional arts practices and new forms of artistic expression. In 2013-14, a total of US$8.3 million was allocated for arts and cultural activities with a predominantly Indigenous focus.
Challenges arise in delivering quality products to the greatest number of Australians at appropriate costs, given the geographical diversity of Australia, the diverse nature of media delivery platforms and the many-faceted preferences and diverse nature of Australian society.
Monitoring and evaluation is commonly conducted on determining the efficacy of policies and programs in Australia. A range of monitoring and reporting mechanisms are used.
For example, each agency is required to produce an Annual Report which provides an overview of strategic performance as a whole, as well as performance against internal measures towards equity and diversity. This includes progress towards Australia’s National Arts and Disability Strategy, which aims to ensure that all people with a disability have access to, and are able to participate in, arts and cultural activities, and are involved in the decisions that affect them. The Strategy’s focus has been on improving access to, and participation in, arts and cultural activities by people with disability, both as audience members and participants, and addressing barriers that discourage emerging artists and cultural workers with disability from developing their practice. The strategy has recently been evaluated and the final report is available online at http://mcm.arts.gov.au/working-groups/nads