August saw the Arts Minister Simon Crean deliver his discussion paper on the governments’s new 10 year national cultural policy, the first serious attempt in this direction since Paul Keating’s Creative Nation in 1994. Unlike the Keating era of grand announcements, the government is welcoming comments, up to 21 October 2011. The paper is rather generalised in its marshalling of the information, with statistics about levels of funding to various sectors and evidence of growing audience numbers. It touches on arts education, new media, creative industries, Indigenous arts, private patronage, intellectual property, digital delivery, multiculturalism and more. Four over-arching goals are stated with notions of how to measure whether they are reached. The fourth goal to increase the strength and capacity of the arts to contribute to our society and economy, uses a measure that all children and young people have the opportunity to learn about the arts. Sadly we know that this goal is currently just that. The new national schools curriculum is still being hotly contested, but the arts are still on the table and whatever is finally decided will impact on the plan.

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