Canberra, 30 January: The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is celebrating the Australian Government’s new National Cultural Policy ‘Revive’ which was launched today by the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Arts Minister Tony Burke, at St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel in Naarm (Melbourne).
“A place for every story, and a story for every place, the tagline for the policy, is a perfect fit for the work of libraries” said ALIA CEO Cathie Warburton.
“As the nation’s peak body for libraries and information services we are delighted to see Australian stories, writers and readers placed at the heart of this new policy, and to see real recognition and support for artists, creators, audiences and the creative industries.”
"Libraries are an essential part of our social infrastructure, providing access to stories and information for readers of all backgrounds around Australia. Libraries nurture imagination, counter mis and dis-information, improve literacy levels and create safe and inclusive spaces. They are an essential entry point for countless people to the arts."
The central role played by libraries in sharing stories highlights the importance of the much-anticipated news that library lending rights will receive a $12.9 million extension to include audiobooks and e-books. ALIA has been advocating with the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) for this change that will multiply and diversify the voices and stories on offer, better provide for those with access issues or disability, and ensure that creative talent is nurtured through fair remuneration.
"As Chair of the Public Lending Rights Committee and on behalf of the members of the Committee I am delighted with the announcement of the inclusion of a Digital Lending Right together with funding for 4 years” said Chair of the Public Lending Right Committee Eve Woodberry. “Australia's print lending right scheme is world's best practice and the inclusion of digital will bring it in to the 21st century. It will broaden the scope of the scheme to local authors, publishers and members of the book industry, some of who may not have been eligible previously.”
ALIA also welcomes key initiatives and commitments for the literary and cultural sector, including $19.3 million for the creation of Writers Australia within Creative Australia, a much-needed focus on writers, readers and the wider book ecosystem. Specific support for poetry comes through a National Poet Laureate to promote poetry and mentor up and coming poets.
Australia’s cultural institutions play a vital role in sharing our nation’s rich and informative past and present, and ALIA looks forward to continuing conversations with government around sustainable budget funding for critical infrastructure such as Trove outside of the National Cultural Policy. As the policy acknowledges, Australia must “preserve the structures and facilities that make cultural memory possible: our libraries and museums, our galleries and archives, our national broadcasters.”
The policy also marks a win for our Creative workers with a commitment to crafting a framework for how to achieve safe and sustainable employment practices. In so doing, the policy recognises that these industries and their practices are future focused, technology-enabled, networked and globally-recognised. Arts jobs are real jobs.
The first of the five pillars for the National Cultural Policy is First Nations.
“It’s significant to have a national cultural policy that puts First Nations people First” said Dr Kirsten Thorpe, Chair of ALIA’s First Nations Expert Advisory Group, and Senior Researcher at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research, University of Technology Sydney.
“First Nations people are the first Storytellers. This policy will support First Nations stories in Australia’s libraries and archives, and support work already underway in the sector to implement cultural protocols and cultural safety training, founded on the principle of self-determination. The work of the First Nations led body within Creative Australia has the potential to support the essential work of First Nations workers in the library and archives, addressing issues of workplace safety and promoting pathways for more First Nations people to join and advance in the sector.”
You can read the full policy here.