Thursday, 18 August 2022

A NEW NATIONAL CULTURAL POLICY - Some extracts from the submission made by the Australian Media Oral History Group

Set out below are a couple of key responses submitted by the Australian Media Oral History Group in response to the Federal Government’s calls for submissions from interested parties for a NEW NATIONAL CULTURAL POLICY


The website sets out the following aims:


A new National Cultural Policy is needed to establish a comprehensive roadmap to guide the skills and resources required to transform and safeguard a diverse, vibrant and sustainable arts, entertainment and cultural sector now and into the future.

Our starting point will be Creative Australia, the national cultural policy launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2013.

This new policy will be shaped by the diverse voices of the Australian arts, entertainment and cultural sector around the 5 goals of Creative Australia which have been distilled to the following pillars:

·       First Nations: recognising and respecting the crucial place of these stories at the centre of our arts and culture.

·       A place for every story: reflecting the diversity of our stories and the contribution of all Australians as the creators of culture.

·       The centrality of the artist: supporting the artist as worker and celebrating their role as the creators of culture.

·       Strong institutions: providing support across the spectrum of institutions which sustain our arts and culture.

·       Reaching the audience: ensuring our stories reach the right people at home and abroad.





Access to Australia’s cultural memory,  and the lessons and education which follow, can only come about if our great national recording and collecting institutions are adequately resourced and are able to ensure access to their holdings for all who come  after by the use of the most modern, efficient and cost effective technology.  Such access will require the maintenance of well-resourced infrastructure (Buildings, IT systems, storage facilities) but also the maintenance of adequately trained and informed staff. 

By definition, the task of a collecting institution grows ever greater, as newly-created material is added to existing collections - and as the range of technologies used to create and access the works continues to expand.

The great Australian collecting institutions (NAA, National  Library National Gallery, National Museum, National Portrait Gallery and the National Film and Sound Archive) have for many years faced existential threats to their ability to carry out these central tasks. Long term commitments are required to ensure their continued ability to serve the people.


… Australia should be at the forefront of international expertise in the long and costly process of bringing Australia’s history, its stories, its myths and its poetry to Australia’s and the world’s citizenry. This can only be done by Governments and institutions, large and small, having the capacity to reach these audiences. Without an audience the creation of our cultural life and the values personified therein have no purpose.

The Federal Government should wholeheartedly embrace a responsibility  to support both the creation of our cultural life via support of artists, creators, teams, production units and the physical infrastructure needed for their work, (including schools, training institutions and academies) but also the physical and intellectual infrastructure need to ensure that the artists’ output reaches an audience and is not swamped by the output of other nations. 


If the need is identified the Federal Government should be prepared to give long term support but also prepared to use its constitutional powers to impose requirements, quotas and any other useful measures to ensure that Australian voices are heard.


The building block of access to and the availability of our national memory through the collecting institutions is a basic requirement of such activity.


In particular, AMOHG supports the maintenance of reasonable fees paid by the NFSA and other appropriate National, State and specialist archives to professional oral historians who research, record and transcribe oral histories on these institutions’ behalf. We are, however, concerned that access fees as currently charged by the NFSA are acting as a disincentive to use the collection and are inherently unfair.



If you would like to read the full submission CLICK HERE  If you would like to know more about AMOHG, or if you are interested in participating in our activities, please contact us here.

AMOHG is an independent, voluntary association of professional media practitioners, oral historians, academics, archivists, journalists, critics, reviewers and others. The Group aims to encourage and conduct oral histories of practitioners in audiovisual media and those with a significant memory or knowledge of the social histories, operations, cultures and sub-cultures of audiovisual media production and reception.

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