Labor announced its arts policy ahead of the federal election, with a launch event at The Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, Melbourne, on Saturday and a pledge from Labor Spokesperson for the Arts Tony Burke that a Bill Shorten government will put “cultural policy back in the centre of decision making.”

The party announced a refreshed take on the Creative Australia policy – launched under Julia Gillard in 2013 and scrapped by the Coalition – which includes an $8 million investment over four years for a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theatre company and support for existing First Nations companies to become major performing arts companies, $1 million of annual funding for regional arts initiatives, a restoration of Australia Council for the Arts funding to pre-2014 levels and a fairer distribution of funding to support the small to medium and independent sectors, as well as literature and visual arts, and investment in video games development.

Image © jannoon028,

“Arts is a whole ecology, from the majors, the small to medium companies and independent artists and if you break that ecology it hurts the whole sector,” Burke said, taking aim at what...