Australia’s Giving Almost $300 Million to The Arts — Do Artists Think It’ll Help?

"It’s time we start robbing these rich cunts blind."
Stefano Guidi / Getty Images

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese revealed the Federal Government’s new National Cultural Policy, Revive, on Monday. It’s the first federal arts policy Australia has had since 2013 and will commit $286 million, over 4 years, to a number of initiatives like 4 new federal arts bodies, introducing local content quotas, a new National Aboriginal Art Gallery and new legislation to stamp out fake Indigenous art.


It’s more funding than the $17 billion industry has been promised in a decade, but what do young Australian artists really think of it? We asked a few.

“The arts has been begging for significant government support since before the pandemic and now we’re slapping a band-aid on a sector in critical condition. I worry these initiatives funnel support into areas that need it least, which homogenises the arts by rewarding those with enough support, privilege and access to have weathered the storm.” — Kira Puru, musician.

“The government model of arts funding is totally detached from the fact that art is labour and takes time. Grants only benefit those in the position to apply for them, and the kind of art which grants create has to be samey and undaring to get the approval of the establishment gatekeepers. 

The only way to make the arts work is a universal basic income — everything else is a deluded Sydney Grammar think tank wonk’s pipedream. It’s time we start robbing these rich cunts blind.” — Patrick Marlborough, writer and comedian.

“I’d want it to go into a universal minimum working wage for musicians that’s been talked about for years, but I’m not super trusting of the Labor Government TBH.” — Kalani Giddey, musician. 

“The arts sector will get $286M over four years, or $72M a year. The fossil fuel industry gets $11.6B a year in government subsidies. Australia’s arts sector employs about six times as many people as the fossil fuel sector.

Albo should’ve spent less time on his Hottest 100 votes and more time on his arts and culture policy.” — Gerald Wiblin, cinematographer.

“I started to lose hope in local content knowing that reality TV filled up much of our “Australian” quota on broadcast networks. The possibility of streaming services now being made to spend 20% of their budget on original, local content honestly makes me feel hopeful and excited to pursue my career on my home turf.” — Isabelle Ford, actor.

“I think this is a step in the right direction for the arts industry. That being said, a lot needs to be done. It’s hard to incentivise artists in a struggling industry to perform when the means by which they do are at risk. I believe financial aid and subsidies could be taken to support music venues pay rent, so artists can pay theirs.” — Gabriel Keam, musician.

“Why did the Australia Council for the Arts rebrand to Creative Australia? “Creative” is famously the most hated word by creatives.” — Mia Montesin, designer.