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Next steps in national culture policy

Artists and industry experts will review contributions to the federal government’s national cultural policy, which has attracted more than 1200 submissions.

Public contributions closed on Monday after two months of town hall meetings and consultations, with the policy due by the end of 2022.

The government on Friday announced an expert advisory group to provide high-level advice.

It will include philanthropist Janet Holmes a Court, Australia Council chief executive Adrian Collette, writers Alysha Herrmann and Christos Tsiolkas, indigenous performer Sinsa Mansell, artist Kitty Taylor, and historian Clare Wright.

That’s on top of 15 arts figures who will form five review panels based around the central ideas of the policy, namely first nations stories, diversity, prioritising artists, institutional support, and audience reach.

Last Friday the government’s special envoy for the arts, Susan Templeman, cautioned the October budget may not shower cash on the sector, with long term funding decisions dependent on the still-unfinished policy.

That could mean Labor is into the second year of its term before the sector is able to make up significant ground lost under the Coalition.

The previous Morrison government cut arts funding by about $190 million, or 20 per cent, in its last budget, according to lobby group Fund the Arts.

“There’s been a huge amount of money taken away from the arts, and we know we’ve got a lot of catching up to do,” Ms Templeman said.

Labor’s biggest election promises were $80 million for a national Aboriginal art gallery and $84 million for the ABC, but it is still not clear whether the upcoming budget will fund those pledges.

Its last overarching culture plan, Creative Australia, took six years to develop and was scrapped by the coalition within six months of the 2013 election.

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