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First NSW Arts and Culture Policy

The NSW government is set to overhaul its $57 million annual Arts Funding Program and will announce plans on Friday for the state’s first arts and cultural policy.

Arts Minister George Souris has appointed a five-member reference group to advise on the new cultural policy, ”which will in turn impact on how we spend the AFP (Arts Funding Program) allocation”, an Arts NSW spokesman said.

State cultural institutions the Art Gallery of NSW, Australian Museum, Powerhouse Museum, State Library of NSW and Sydney Opera House are being consulted during the development of the draft discussion paper, the spokesman said.

Mr Souris said: ”The arts and cultural policy will be developed alongside a review of the Arts Funding Program to ensure that we have an effective, sustainable funding model to support artists and cultural organisations across the state.’

The minister said the policy would outline a 10-year vision for the arts sector.

Changes to the Arts Funding Program would take effect in 2015. Spending in 2012-13 was $57 million, down $1.2 million on the previous year.

Plans for a state cultural policy follow on the heels of Creative Australia, the federal government’s $235 million policy released last month and the City of Sydney’s cultural policy, Creative City, which is now open for public consultation.

The spokesman said the NSW policy will complement the work being done by the federal government and City of Sydney. The final policy will be released late this year.

The discussion paper is expected to be released next month. The reference group has been asked to guide development of the policy under terms of reference that will also be released on Friday.

The reference group is made up of Sydney Film Festival chairman Chris Freeland, University of Western Sydney academic Deborah Stevenson, Wagga Wagga- based arts administrator Scott Howie, Carriageworks chief executive Lisa Havilah and artist and Art Gallery of NSW trustee Ben Quilty.

[Information based on article by John Saxby ‘Cultural politics in vogue’, Sydney Morning Herald, April 19 2013 and media release from Minister for the Arts, George Souris]