Submission to the Minister for the Arts, the Hon Simon Crean MP

by the Music Council of Australia

October 21, 2011


Submission to the Federal Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Simon Crean MP, by the Music Council of Australia

October 21, 2011

Music is indivisible. The dualism of feeling and thinking must be resolved to a state of unity in which one thinks with the heart and feels with the brain.

– George Szell

Is it not strange that sheep’s guts should hale souls out of men’s bodies?

– Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing

This is a long submission. We know because we wro-o-ote it.

The Music Council of Australia attempts to be across the entire, diverse and fragmented music sector. That is its unique role. It therefore is inappropriate for us to omit any particular set of interests while including others.

We think in any case that it may be helpful for you to have fairly comprehensive information from a single source. It’s not complete but it covers territory.

If you need dot points, go to Strategies at the end of each section.


  1. For a cultural policy, it is important to define the intended meaning of ‘culture’. The anthropologist Alfred Kroeber found that the word ‘culture’ has among the largest number of meanings of any in the English language, so there is plenty of room for confusion.
  2. Two common meanings in the present context: culture is the arts or alternatively, as offered by the Macquarie Dictionary: culture is ‘the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings, which is transmitted from one generation to another’.
  3. A policy based upon the latter definition would be neither practicable nor desirable.
  4. From the Minister’s Discussion Paper we infer that the intention is in fact to produce an arts policy – but one that gives increased emphasis to the instrumental role of the arts in enhancing outcomes in education, social inclusion, health and well-being, economic development and other areas and to secure financial and regulatory support from across government rather than through the arts portfolio alone. While the Discussion Paper mentions or implies support for the intrinsic values of the arts, the arts as ends, the discussion is almost entirely about their instrumental value, the arts as means. In a sense, it places some non-arts ‘cultural’ (in the broad sense) matters to the fore with the arts close in the background. Perhaps this is in that sense a cultural policy.
  5. Semantics aside, that perception sets some workable limits on the policy.A previous Australian government formulated a very serviceable arts-based definition of culture for use in the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement:

    Culture” includes the creative arts(1), cultural heritage(2) and other cultural industries, including audio-visual services, entertainment services and libraries, archives, museums and other cultural services;

    ”broadcasting and audio-visual services, including measures relating to planning, licensing and spectrum management, and including: ”

    ”services offered in Australia; ”

    ”international services originating from Australia. ”

    • ”Creative arts include: the performing arts – including theatre, dance and music – visual arts, craft and design, literature, film, television, video, radio, creative on-line content, indigenous traditional practice and contemporary cultural expression, and digital interactive media and hybrid arts work which uses new technologies to transcend artform divisions. ”
    • ”Cultural heritage includes: ethnological, archaeological, historical, literary, artistic, scientific or technological moveable and built heritage, including the collections which are documented, preserved and exhibited by museums, galleries, libraries, archives and other heritage collecting institutions. ”

There is no escaping the intrinsic purpose of the arts

  1. Given this instrumental focus of the policy, we think it is important to make this point at the outset: the effectiveness of using the arts as instruments for positive outcomes will depend in most of these areas upon the level of achievement in the intrinsic artistic values.
  2. We speak of music: sustainable export success will depend upon the highest level of musical and compositional achievement, not upon clever marketing of mediocrity. At risk youth will be diverted by participation in the craft and emotion of real music-making. School truancy will be averted if students are drawn to music classes that are sound musically and pedagogically and use musical genres that go to their innards. Tourists will be drawn by performances that are exceptional because they come from highly imaginative, superlatively skilled performers.


  1. The policy would be given an explicit ethical basis if it is consistent with, or better, manifests relevant international covenants, declarations or agreements to which Australia is a signatory. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights supports most of those listed below and they are further supported by other declarations of the UN or sections of the UN. Generally, we take inclusion in the Universal Declaration to be sufficient.
  2. The right to freedom of expression. This is a necessary condition for artistic creation and for artistic innovation. 1 It has been under some challenge in Australia in recent years.
  3. The right of everyone to freely participate in the cultural life of the community. 2 We need to remember that in Australia, the community embraces not only a mainstream but also many minority cultures associated with particular interest groups or ethnic communities. Note in particular the right of Indigenous people to participate in their own culture. 3 In Australia, the issue is not so much that individuals are officially prevented from such participation, but rather whether government support creates circumstances in which these various cultures can be sustained.

(Note also: “(E)ach culture has a dignity and value which must be respected and preserved” (Article 1, UNESCO Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Co-operation (Paris, 1966). This is a basis for support to indigenous culture and the cultures of immigrant peoples. 4)

  1. The right to an education. 5 This education should facilitate the exercise of the rights to free expression and to participate in one’s culture. Australia does poorly in the provision of an arts education to children.
  2. The right of artists to attribution of their work, not to have authorship falsely applied, not to have their works subjected to derogatory treatment (moral rights). 6
  3. The right of artists to just remuneration. 7 In Australia, with rare exceptions, the market rules and it is a buyers’ market.
  4. The right of artists to the means to communicate their work. 8 Freedom of expression is meaningless if the expression cannot be communicated to others. The state therefore should facilitate and not withhold access to the communications media. The public broadcasters in Australia have a special responsibility and there is current concern about the direction of the ABC in this regard. There are complex questions now arising about regulation for local content in the commercial media. 9
  5. The right of nations to cultural sovereignty, i.e. the right of governments to protect and promote the culture of their own countries. 10 Australia’s cultural sovereignty is at risk in free trade agreements and they require continuing vigilance from the cultural sector.
  6. The rights of Indigenous people, which includes the safeguarding of endangered languages.11 It should be noted that traditional musics are endangered and some of their only carriers are of a very advanced age.
  7. To bring the argument home, all of these rights are aspects, in Australian terms, of the right to a ‘fair go’.
  8. Those rights concerning artists are considered exhaustively in the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist. 12
  9. As an aspect of its creation of a national cultural policy, the government could consider implementation of appropriate parts of the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist.
  10. When the proposition for an Australian human rights act is revived, how will it interface with the cultural policy?


  1. Australian culture is produced by its people. The role of government is not to directly shape culture but to enable all Australians – whatever their background, beliefs and abilities – to explore and nurture their creativity and draw on the wealth of our culture to enrich us all.’ – Discussion paper issued by then Arts Minister Garrett.
  2. The Music Council gives enthusiastic support to this statement.
  3. The key word is ‘enable’. How does government best enable?
  4. We suggest that complexity theory, theories of cultural evolution and of culture as a complex adaptive system can introduce a new wisdom into discussion of the best role for government as an enabling force.
  5. The concept of ‘complex adaptive systems’ is drawn from evolutionary theory in the biological world but is here applied to the cultural world. Evolution in the biological world results from accidental physical mutations that successfully adapt the organism to changes in the natural environment. Cultural evolution depends upon successful cultural adaptations to changes in the total environment including the sociocultural environment; it depends upon learning. Culture can be seen as a complex adaptive system in which government is one of the agents.
  6. There is an inherent dilemma for a government that aims to proclaim a cultural policy but wishes to avoid ‘directly shap(ing) culture’. Any government action intervenes, prefers, directs, influences. But if the intervention is not in exercise of a policy direction, it may be aimless and we have no basis in policy for perceiving its success. How to define the fruitful middle ground that ‘does not directly shape culture’ but ‘enables’?
  7. We can make inferences or extrapolations from the theory of complex adaptive systems about the enabling role of government. It turns out that many of the normal activities of the Australian government in supporting culture, especially the grants system, are consistent with this theory.
  8. Cultural evolution will be healthier and more rapid if there is a diversity of artists, organisations, activities interacting with each other. The provision of funds for cultural activity adds energy to these interactions. The conditions under which they are offered can unbalance the status quo and stimulate adaptation to the new circumstances.
  9. The system of open applications for government funds encourages a diversity of applicants with a diversity of approaches and ideas, a condition for more innovation, more rapid evolution. However, while the guidelines can cause a useful unsettling of the status quo, they or the application process can be an obstacle for some applicants, reducing diversity. They also can emphasise the status quo and so actually constrain innovation.
  10. The selection of projects for funding obviously is important, perhaps directing the outcomes towards policy objectives but on the other hand narrowing the range of activity that is supported. If the objective is to encourage innovation, policy direction should be as light as possible and the more diversity among the grantees, the better. Facilitation of contact among these diverse activities and of public exposure for them creates the conditions for even more innovation.
  11. The above illustration demonstrates that the theory does offer some useful perspectives on the enabling role of government and warrants consideration in the formulation of a national cultural policy. For additional information, please see APPENDIX 1.


  1. We address key issues raised in the Discussion Paper. The submission moves fairly freely between discussion of broader arts and cultural issues and specific references to our area of expertise, music. Sometimes, it will be possible for the discussion of music to be extrapolated to wider considerations of the arts or culture.


  1. (Depends upon most of the cultural rights found in the various UN declarations.)

This section includes the following points:

  • Australians could seek to be world’s best in every sphere
  • Government could campaign to slowly remove cultural attitudes that place a cap on aspiration
  • We need to know the steps between where we are and achieving world’s best, in any instance
  • In the arts, excellence should be assessed according to criteria relevant to the art work or activity and its context
  • The demands of excellence are more difficult to meet in some arts practices than others.
  • A cultural policy concerned with excellence should consider the entire context of production, participation and consumption.

General discussion

  1. This objective has been ubiquitous in arts policy, here and elsewhere. It heads the list of objectives in the Australia Council charter.
  2. However, this is an issue that can engage a national cultural policy in the broad definition of ‘culture’: ‘encompass(ing) our values, traditions, attitudes and expressions … shared by us all.’
  3. Why should not Australians seek to achieve excellence in all that we do? Why should not Australians seek to be world’s best in every sphere, not from a need to claim superiority so much as accepting that this is as much a possibility for us as any other people, a consequence not so much of ambition as of imagination, effort and spirit.
  4. (We here put forward some contestable assertions.) On the whole, we prefer something less, a safe middle-level adequacy. We are citizens of a small country and we love to hear that we ‘punch above our weight’, better than expected – but then how much could be expected, after all? To achieve greatly is to risk popular rejection as a member of the ‘elite’ (perhaps confused somehow with privilege of conferred wealth or status), as a tall poppy with pretensions above those of ‘ordinary’ people. (Costantoura disputes this, para 41.)
  5. We still only take our artists really seriously when they have succeeded overseas. True, overseas acclamation is from a larger market and free of our self-interest. But Geoffrey Rush was just as good an actor before he won the Oscar.
  6. The timidity of Australian businesses in investment in innovation is frequently reported and is in stark contrast with the systematic daring of the American business culture. Americans celebrate success; Australians are lost somewhere between celebration and suspicion.
  7. These generalities are not meant to obscure actual Australian achievement. We have artists and scientists and businesses who go ahead and achieve to the highest level anyway. Perhaps sport is the model to be emulated. Successful sportspeople are accepted without suspicion as members of an elite, as tall poppies. The way is cleared for a systematic public investment in sports performance, with many relevant disciplines brought to bear. There is an intricate understanding of the steps between an athlete’s potential and ultimate success.
  8. In recent decades, it has been widely recognised that cultural values, traditions, attitudes are important in determining the success or failure of foreign-sponsored development projects. This developed-world analysis of other cultures might be applied as well to itself. There is much in Australian culture that is productive, but the capping of aspiration is not.
  9. The theory of complex adaptive systems says, unsurprisingly, that like other qualities, qualities of excellence will emerge if demanded and rewarded by the environment.
  10. So a cultural policy, broadly defined, might attempt a gradual shift in community attitudes so that daring, innovation and excellence are more strongly sought and valued.
  11. The government could look for ways to support or create a general attitude in the population that there is no limit to aspiration, that risk-taking is praiseworthy (‘having a go’), failure the opportunity to try a different approach, success is to be celebrated.
  12. Existing Australian models of success, such as the training of elite athletes, can be presented as models. They show both that success is possible, and that it is achieved by intelligent, tenacious, continuing application to traverse the space between where we are and where we want to be.
  13. Where the success is apparent but the method is not clear, studies can be made to discover the causative factors. How does it happen that we have so many actors and cinematographers at the top of the professional internationally? 13

‘Excellence’ in arts policy

  1. The concept has been disputed because as concepts of cultural democracy took hold, they were at odds with the earlier presumption that real excellence could be achieved only in certain artistic genres, like ballet or classical music and that therefore, it is such genres that merit support. In a more pluralistic world, it is recognised that excellence should be recognised according to the characteristics and criteria of any sphere of art or activity.
  2. The Music Council supports this broader concept of excellence.
  3. A study of Sweden’s great success as a music exporter discovered that the music education system was a very important contributor, not only because it produced a large pool of skilled musicians, but also an audience capable of discerning quality. 14 A cultural policy concerned with excellence will be more effective if it considers the entire context of production, participation and consumption.


  1. The Commonwealth devises and implements a strategy to build the attitude in the population that there is no limit to aspiration, that risk-taking is praiseworthy, failure the opportunity to try a different approach, excellence in every field is to be celebrated.
  2. The Commonwealth initiates research to discover causative factors leading to global success for some Australian artists, and utilises the outcomes in cultural policy. Cultural policy considers the entire context of production, participation and consumption, in terms relevant to the sphere of action, in the production of excellence.
  3. The arts emulate, as appropriate, the methodologies of sport in the development of sports people from a young age to the elite professional level and in gaining public admiration for excellence and success.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. A development of broadly held attitudes in support of the achievement of excellence, encouraging artists and others to achieve to the highest level possible. KPIs: Development and implementation of strategy as in para 50; periodic attitudes survey by Commonwealth to track change.
  2. Commonwealth identifies strategies that support achievement of excellence and incorporates them into cultural support policies. KPI: publication of outcomes of research; strategic inclusion in policies; devise and implement strategies to track achievement of excellence, if possible.
  3. More effective practices in the cultural sector in developing and presenting excellence. KPI: describe strategies; implement strategies; devise, apply and track indicators of excellence.


  1. (Depends especially upon the rights of freedom of expression and communication under UN declarations, as well as the rights to education and others.)

This section includes the following points:

  • Ingenuity is no longer enough
  • The theory of complex adaptive systems describes the circumstances in which innovation is stimulated
  • A cultural policy that encourages innovation must also encourage risk-taking and accept failure
  • A cultural policy that encourages real innovation cannot rationally demand financial viability or punish financial loss
  • If we wish to encourage innovation, we should consider the behaviour of innovators
  • The cultural policy should include support to diffusion and adoption of innovation
  • Arts education can foster creativity and thereby, innovation


  1. The traditional Australian culture values ingenuity – in this context, innovation achieved with a scarcity of resources. It is admirable but no longer adequate. As an adult player in a technologically complex world, we can continue to value our ingenuity but Australia must also send people out of the backyard shed into the laboratory and the seminar. Resources must be applied. Nevertheless, popular affection for ingenuity can be used to build support for the more sophisticated reach of innovation.

Factors in the encouragement of cultural innovation

  1. The theory of complex adaptive systems as applied to cultural evolution is especially helpful in the discussion of innovation.
  2. In brief, these factors could be important:
    • Changes or disruptions in the culture that impel adaptation. (In our time, we are not lacking such disruptions, to say the least; witness the effects of digital creation and dissemination in many artforms, not least, music.)
    • A diversity of artists, arts organisations, philosophies and objectives active in the field. (Applies also to media and communications or any other field.)
    • Contact between these ‘agents’.
    • An input of energy such as that provided by subsidy, earned financial rewards or well-directed regulation.
    • Other forms of valuing of the activity such as public recognition.

Innovation requires risk-taking

  1. Innovation requires risk-taking and frequently does not succeed. It is a step into the unknown. If cultural policy is to encourage innovation, it is a corollary that it must also encourage risk-taking and accept failure. Failure is often just written off as failure – but it is better regarded as an invitation to try again. Activities that give advance guarantee of successful outcomes are likely to repeat formulae from the past. Inflexible requirements for ‘accountability’ divert time and may demand excessive caution.

he audience for innovation

  1. The audience for innovation. The Discussion Paper presses for much more artistic innovation and for a major increase in audiences and mainstream acceptance of the arts. Both of these goals are highly desirable but alas incompatible. The mass audience has a limited interest in innovation. Truly innovative art attracts mainly a small, knowledgeable and committed audience that has the motivation and courage to deal with unfamiliarity, uncertainty and failure. We in music see very clearly from history that today’s innovations can invoke cat-calls but carry in them the routine musical expectations of the future. Beethoven, Stravinsky. Rock music.
  2. This audience will be unlikely to contribute sufficient funds to meet expenses. A cultural policy that encourages real innovation cannot at the same time rationally demand financial viability or punish financial loss.

The innovators

  1. If we wish to encourage innovation, we should consider the behaviour of innovators and what sort of situation they respond to. Perhaps there is relevant research. At a guess, there are innovators who work steadily over an extended period to solve a problem but there are also those who work more on impulse and intuition, get caught up in a situation, an idea, a moment. Sometimes there is urgency in the opportunity. They need to be caught on the boil. Funding procedures generally are not friendly to the latter. Rules to be followed, categories to be conformed to, forms to fill in, months to wait. By the time the money arrives, the idea is stone cold dead. There are here and there, quick-response arrangements for small amounts of money. Reapplied, they could be effective in building a head of steam behind cultural innovation.

Dissemination of innovation

  1. Because of the level of specialisation across the entire economy, true innovations are likely to be known and understood by only a small number of people – in the arts, the artists and a small coterie audience. Innovations become culturally valuable as they are more widely adopted. The cultural policy could include support to diffusion and adoption of innovation.

Innovation and national identity

  1. Some Australians worry that we do not have a clear national identity. Many official cultural documents justify government support to the arts on the basis that they strengthen national identity. There is here the idea that as the arts evolve, therefore requiring innovation, an identity will emerge.
  2. Long-standing ambitions for a distinctive national identity were given new currency after WW2 by the uncertainties created by rapid change and uncertainty about any cultural consensus between ‘old’ Australians and a flood of new immigrants.
  3. We wanted our art to be ‘distinctively Australian’ while internationally competitive with contemporary art in the world’s leading artistic centres. This meant that it had to be unlike almost all art that preceded it; therefore innovation would be highly valued and receive priority for support. This is still the agenda.
  4. So there is a dilemma. Change and innovation at once cause the increased desire for national identity, while more innovation is supposed to satisfy it.
  5. Innovation is now all around us, and increases our diversity. The Music Council senses that people who worry about national identity want a clear and simple answer, an answer they might find in the 1940s when most of us were Anglo, change was relatively slow, and war told us who we were not. They do not find a concept that our identity is in our diversity at all comfortable. Moreover, identity is never fixed; like everything else, it evolves. How can there be an identity in a lack of identity? Realistically, we must accept the diversity and change of identity through time.

Specific innovations

  1. There is a new emphasis on education to encourage creativity. The arts claim to be the natural home of creativity and therefore to have an important place in such education.15 This and other specific proposals for innovation in the various spheres of activity are described in following sections.


  1. In accordance with the observations of the theory of complex adaptive systems, to foster innovation, government policy encourage contact and collaboration among artists with a diversity of backgrounds, disciplines, philosophies and objectives and find ways to support their work and give it public currency and recognition.
  2. Government support policies reward risk-taking, do not punish failure and moderate demands for ‘accountability’.
  3. Policies recognise that the audience for innovation is small and that consequently, financial self-sufficiency is unlikely.
  4. Policies should take into account the typical behaviour of innovators and in particular, make provision for rapid response grants to support projects that need quick implementation.
  5. To get the maximum outcome from innovations, project plans should include provision for fast and wide dissemination.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. More innovation and diversity in the arts and more rapid evolution of artistic practice and related management and marketing practices. KPI: Track changes in government policies that would nurture innovation. If possible, devise indicators of innovation, measure prevalence over time.
  2. Wider public recognition and appreciation of such innovation. KPI: Periodic surveys of awareness and attitudes.

This section includes the following points:

  • We appreciate innovation by comparing it to what went before
  • Innovation depends upon a living heritage. Innovation is an expedition from today’s experience to beyond
  • In particular, the classical music heritage depends on subsidy to high cost organisations and this faces hostility that must be addressed
  • This as much as any other is our music and we are very good at it. Let us own it and go from there.

General discussion

  1. Meaningful innovation builds something new to depart from the old, builds from the known into the previously unknown. In art, music for instance, innovation is a departure from expectation and this engages interest, causes pleasurable surprise.
  2. We appreciate the innovation because of the departure. We could not recognise the departure were we not familiar with the expectations within the genre to that point – were we not familiar with the ‘heritage’.
  3. The heritage gives us the cultural language that allows communication. Self-expression is not necessarily communicative. One can express one’s self in an entirely private language. Artist and audience must share a language for the artist to communicate.
  4. So an artist could innovate by creating something entirely new, outside the heritage, but because it does not share in heritage, it probably does not communicate to an audience.
  5. Innovation requires heritage. For meaningful innovation, the heritage must therefore be sustained. Sustained not as a museum, musical scores or books in a drawer, but as a living, breathing art of our time. Innovation will not take off from an academic study of sources but as an expedition from today’s experience to beyond.
  6. Nevertheless, it should be noted that although we need the living heritage, it is sourced by the performers in musical scores and recordings as well as live performances and these are found in libraries and resource centres, ideally curated by specialists who can guide search and inquiry. Everyone can use Google but Google doesn’t know, it only follows its nose. And libraries themselves are living heritage; they are not inert collections of objects on shelves or files in computers but collect and classify expertly so that information is not just held but can be found. Let us not take them for granted.
  7. The felt need thirty years ago to emphasise creativity, originality, innovation in arts policy, was in part a revolt against the dominance of the heritage. The changes in the world are rapid and relentless and the long emphasis on innovation seems to be becoming more intense. The present is all, the past is in mist.

The particular situation of classical music

  1. There is a new sort of untutored impatience in some circles – including here and there the bureaucracy – with the heritage. This is especially apparent in symphonic music and opera, which have the misfortune not only to be centred around heritage but also to require heavy state funding for their survival.
  2. Curiously, the state art galleries, performing a similar function and not employing local artists, seem to escape this censure.
  3. The living heritage of classical music will not survive in this country without the orchestras and opera companies. They are the major attractors of a very considerable audience and the major employers of the musicians. Culturally valuable though it is, small scale classical activity is not viable as the core, or only, classical music activity. It continues, standing on the platform provided by that large scale activity.
  4. The large performing organisations have an audience that mainly is attracted to the heritage. As drivers of innovation, they are inhibited by their economics. Financial viability requires large audience but the audiences for innovation are small. They need to carry the art form forward but by and large, they are not in a position to be the main innovators. This role lies with small, flexible organisations, which the major organisation should cooperate with and support.
  5. This is our music. Like most traditions, it has come here from elsewhere but it is now ours as much as anyone’s. We are happy enough to claim jazz, rock music or other popular genres as our own, while recognising their foreign origins. Classical music is an internationally negotiable artform and we are very good at it. Let us own it and go from there.


  1. Sustain the artistic heritage for its own sake and as the base for innovation.
  2. Sustain the orchestras and opera companies as the engine room of the classical music sector.
  3. Define appropriate expectations for their activities in support of innovative practice.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Innovative practice that communicates to the audience. KPIs: evidence of cooperation between large companies and innovative small companies; evidence of artistic innovation in the programs of the large companies; audience trends for such presentations.
  2. A sustainable and vibrant classical music sector. KPIs: trends in audience numbers; trends in the assessment by expert peers of the artistic quality and range of presentations.


  1. There are very serious issues to deal with throughout the arts education sector. An accumulation of government reviews and initiatives means that this is a crucial time to propose change. For that reason, this section of the submission is longer and more detailed than sections on other issues
  2. Through-line. The achievement of international standards of artistic accomplishment as proposed by the Discussion Paper is not possible without an internationally competitive education system, beginning in childhood. The following analyses and strategies cover education from preschool through to the highest levels of career preparation and development.
  3. The education submission falls under these headings.
      • The main strategic task: implement the National Curriculum in the Arts
      • Instruction on musical instruments
      • The contribution of performing organisations
  1. Two issues are the most important among those raised in this section of the Music Council submission, and receive particular emphasis.
  2. Arts education in schools is in crisis. The advent of the National Curriculum offers a rare opportunity to implement credible and innovative arts education programs in schools.
  3. So also is tertiary music education in crisis. Virtually all institutions operate at a financial loss and are not in a position to achieve the international competitiveness envisaged in the cultural policy Discussion Paper.
  4. In brief summary, key strategies proposed are as follows. The Commonwealth to:
  • Require and provide for all early childhood carers and teachers to have, and use, appropriate artistic and pedagogical competencies.
  • Ensure that the national curricula in the arts are credible and effective.
  • Prepare and implement strategies that ensure their competent delivery to students. Above all, this will require a major investment in upgrading undergraduate courses for prospective teachers and professional development for existing teachers, especially at primary school level.
  • Increase the funding to tertiary music institutions so that they are capable of producing graduates with internationally competitive skills, and so that the institutions themselves are internationally competitive.
  • Endorse and monitor a system of national accreditation of private studio music teachers at international best practice standards.
  • Give financial support to the establishment of a system of municipal music schools on the European model, with shared investment by states and local government.
  • Assist in provision of equipment to support arts instruction in appropriate facilities delivered via the NBN.
  • Take various actions in support of career and business training for artists and managers in the music industry.


  1. The following is drawn from a much more detailed submission by the Music Council to the Productivity Commission, dated January 31, 2011 and available at Please note that a later submission to the Productivity Commission on the same topic, also on that website, is only a commentary on the Commission’s findings and omissions.
  2. Definition. Early childhood education covers the preschool years for ages 0 to 5, and the early school years K-3. The education therefore is provided in childcare institutions for the very early years and in school for those of school age. Those delivering the education are childcare workers and school teachers.

The importance of music in early childhood development

  1. Research overwhelmingly shows that music is both a biological predisposition and a cultural universal. Music is an integral part of young children’s lives, as evidenced in ground-breaking research conducted nearly seventy years ago, or the more recent rich and diverse ethnographic studies of young children’s musical lives. Children’s play, so valued by the early childhood education community in fostering young children’s learning and development, features music as a central component.
  2. For more than a decade it has been apparent that from infancy human beings are hardwired for musical experience. The brain’s basic architecture is built over time in a process that begins before birth and continues through to adulthood. The brain is built over a succession of ‘sensitive periods’. These sensitive periods are associated with the formation of specific circuits that are associated with specific abilities.16
  3. Music education has many additional benefits in other domains of young children’s learning and development. Involvement in music experiences has been demonstrated to facilitate the development of literacy and language skills in young children. In particular, involvement in music programs and experiences has resulted in the increase of young children’s vocabulary and increased development in auditory language. The development of literacy also has clear links to developmentally appropriate singing and chanting activities in which children learn lyrics to chants and songs and re-compose song lyrics. Engagement in music programs has been shown to benefit many other areas of young children’s development, for instance spatial-temporal reasoning in elementary school aged children and preschool children.
  4. In a case study, de Vries found the early childhood teacher noting that when engaged in music activities the children in her care developed in terms of motor skills, increased socialization, release of pent up energy; music provided a mode for self expression, and focused children’s listening skills.
  5. All children are born with the innate ability to respond to music and to develop musically. However, without the right nurturing, musical ability will stall.
  6. Therefore it is vital that those involved in young children’s growth – namely parents and educators – understand their musical development and know ways that they can nurture this very powerful form of communication and being. Music is something to be fostered in all young children.
  7. If early childhood educators are exposed to appropriate musical skills and practices for young children, they can see the benefits of including music in their programs. They would be bound to include music frequently in their day. If the teachers are trained, there is no extra cost in delivering music to the children.

A summary of the current situation

Agreements and commitments

  1. The National Declaration (the ‘Melbourne Declaration’) is a statement of commitment by Education Ministers of Commonwealth, State and Territory governments with regard to school education. In the section entitled ‘Promoting world-class curriculum and assessment’, the Declaration states:

    The curriculum will enable students to develop knowledge in the disciplines of English, mathematics, science, languages, humanities and the arts; to understand the spiritual, moral and aesthetic dimensions of life; and open up new ways of thinking. It will also support the development of deep knowledge within a discipline, which provides the foundation for inter-disciplinary approaches to innovation and complex problem-solving. (Page 12)

  2. In the case of music, this commitment needs to extend through the early childhood years.
  3. Goals and responsibilities for the early childhood years are stated in a number of other agreements to which all governments are committed, including the:
    • National Education Agreement
    • National Early Childhood Development Strategy, Investing in the Early Years
    • Belonging, Being and Becoming – The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia
  4. All Australian governments have made a commitment to the design and implementation of a national music curriculum in schools throughout the school years. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority is agreed that this curriculum will be sequential, developmental and continuous.
  5. This commitment does not cover the age range 0 to 5 years. However, the National Early Childhood Development Strategy embraces the whole early childhood age span.
  6. As noted, specific musical abilities develop sequentially in early life and such development will be impaired or fail if the abilities are not stimulated. In our music-consuming culture, the normal, informal processes of music making are often missing from family life and depend upon the education system.
  7. Later musical development depends upon the basis laid in early childhood. This is important to the general well-being of the populace and also to the artistic and economic success of the Australian professional music sector.

The main obstacle to the delivery of an effective music program in the early childhood context

  1. The main obstacle to the delivery of an effective music program in the early childhood context is the lack of music skills in the carers and teachers.
  2. The mandatory preservice music education in the university degrees of early childhood teachers is tokenistic. With as little as an average 9 hours of music education, they are charged with teaching music for an age span crossing the early childhood years. Research reveals a workforce lacking confidence and skills to teach music and poor or no delivery of the curriculum. It is fair to say that most do not even know what is possible. 17
  3. Teachers with adequate musical training use music in a multitude of ways ‘including scaffolding children’s learning in academic and social skills. The research shows that music is used with great frequency in these circumstances.’
  4. Parents can play an important role in music and other education. Research shows a sharp decline in parental involvement in music making and musical activity with their children. Musically skilled preschool teachers can educate parents along with children in the preschool setting.


  1. A sequential, developmental, continuous music education should be a mandatory element of the curriculum across the early childhood years in both schools and childcare centres.
  2. Delivery of the music curriculum, especially in the school years, should be the responsibility of trained music specialists, with the active support and participation of the classroom generalist teachers.
  3. Failing this, preservice degrees for primary classroom generalist teachers should include the acquisition of skills at least sufficient for effective delivery of the National Curriculum in music and for the preschool years, a music curriculum to be developed under other auspices, possibly the National Early Childhood Development Strategy or its delegated authority.
  4. Even if specialist teachers are employed at school level, classroom teachers should receive this training and should be present during the lessons presented by the specialists so that they are better able to integrate arts activities into the broader curriculum.
  5. The preservice music education should be improved through an appropriate level of commitment by the universities to producing graduates capable at least of teaching the relevant curricula, increased financial support to that end from the Commonwealth, and introduction of appropriate standards of accreditation and employment eligibility by the State authorities.
  6. Those responsible for music education in the early childhood setting should also recruit and train parents to participate in music making and the music education of their children.
  7. Professional development opportunities should be provided systematically for existing members of the workforce to enable them to reach at least the standards required for the new qualifying degrees. The courses can be offered face to face or online by school systems and professional associations. Completion should be recognised and rewarded.
  8. New conditions of employment and recruitment strategies should be developed by the States to secure and retain the services of specialist music teachers.
  9. Structures and provisions should be established to encourage research and innovation in early childhood music education.
  10. There should be an investigation of the possibility of a new structure for primary school teaching in which there are no generalist teachers and each primary school teacher chooses to become expert in three or four subjects, including one or more of the arts. Students then are taught each week by say three teachers who between them cover the curriculum and offer pastoral care.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. All early childhood carers and teachers are trained and qualified to teach the arts. KPI: make this a requirement of all relevant teacher accreditation bodies.
  2. All children are able to achieve the standards required by the National Curriculum for music at their grade level, or the standards set by a new curriculum to be established by the National Early Childhood Development Strategy or its delegated authority, as proposed above. KPIs: Implement an evaluation of the standards achieved.
  3. There is an effective program of research and innovation in early childhood arts education which is tested and implemented broadly in Australian classrooms. KPIs: List the research undertaken; list the research supported by the school systems; list and evaluate the projects undertaken by the systems to incorporate new pedagogical strategies; also list projects undertaken by schools or groups of schools; track changes.
  4. There is investigation of a new structure for primary school education as proposed in Strategy 11, and its implementation.


  1. Definition: This section covers music and arts education in schools, grades K-12.
  2. It therefore overlaps with the early childhood years as covered in the previous section and various of the circumstances described there apply here. Among them is the research demonstrating the benefits to students of a continuing music education in accelerated achievement in academic subjects, greater socialisation, self-esteem and other outcomes. Greater knowledge backed by socio-cultural harmony and “happiness” leads to greater and more well-directed long-term economic growth.
  3. It draws upon other submissions, in particular a paper concerning the National Curriculum written prior to the publication of the final version of the Shape Paper for the Arts:
    And this one concerning the training of primary school music teachers: funding-review-supplementary-submission-the-music-education-of-primary-school- teachers-by-university-faculties-of-education

The current situation

  1. The Discussion Paper sets forward high aspirations for the Australian arts, producing to the highest international standards and earning Australia global admiration and financial rewards.
  2. This can only happen if a high quality arts education is provided to Australians from their earliest years. A small Music Council study of an Australian company that has achieved to that level, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, found that two thirds of its string players were taking music lessons by the age of 6, with one starting at age 3.18
  3. The way that music is taught in schools varies across each of the three systems in each of the eight states and territories, with additional variations depending upon the prerogatives exercised by individual schools. The independent schools are not really part of systems and so are free to make their own decisions.
  4. In all jurisdictions, secondary school music instruction is delivered by specialists. In most public and catholic systems, primary school music instruction is the responsibility of generalist classroom teachers. The state systems in Queensland and Tasmania are exceptions: they employ specialist music teachers for primary schools. As will be shown, for the most part the primary generalist teachers are incapable of delivering a music curriculum.
  5. In the 2007 election campaign, Shadow Arts Minister Garrett promised that if elected, Labor would provide the opportunity for every child to learn an instrument. Labor has not met this promise. In some states, the public education systems offer instrumental instruction to a small percentage of students. In the state which gives the best support to music education, Queensland, the program reaches probably 10% of students. Programs in VIC, WA and SA probably have no better reach. Parents pay a subsidised fee and in WA at least, are able to rent instruments from the program.
  6. An attitudes survey undertaken by the Australian Music Association found that 87% of the population aged 12+ agrees that ‘music education should be mandated by the state to ensure that every child has the opportunity for a music education’. 19
  7. Music Council investigation shows that the mandatory music training in the undergraduate degree for primary school teachers is 17 hours out of the c.1250 hours in a four year degree – or, if you like, 3 days in a 4-year course. Many now secure a teacher qualification through two-year post-graduate awards in which the average music education provision is around 10 hours. This purports to prepare teachers to deliver the music curriculum over the seven primary school years.20
  8. Extrapolating from a Music Council research paper published in 2003, it was found that only 23% of public schools offer a sequential, developmental, continuous (i.e. effective) music education program, as compared with 88% of independent schools. Presumably the reason for the enormous inequity is teacher incapacity, as noted above.21
  9. We know informally that in more affluent areas, public school parents raise money to provide the music education, after school, that the state has failed to provide. This means that at high school graduation, it is mainly the students from affluent families who have received the music education that might qualify them for tertiary music education. The inequity therefore extends beyond childhood.
Global comparisons
  1. In the PISA rankings of school performance in reading, mathematics and science in 2009, a number of countries ranked higher than Australia in all three subject areas. Those countries, with the combined scores for the three subjects, were22
    • Shanghai 1731
    • Hong Kong 1637
    • Finland 1631
    • Singapore 1630
    • South Korea 1623
    • Japan 1588
    • Canada 1580
    • New Zealand 1572
    • Australia 1556
  2. Roughly quantifying primary school music provision in Australia: Queensland, with its specialist music teachers, offers 30 minutes music per week in primary schools. In NSW, music is mandatory in years K-8, taught in public primary schools (or mostly not taught at all) by generalists, by specialists in secondary; 100 hours of mandatory music in years 7-8. Other jurisdictions are very variable. Overall, music is much less taught than in the non-Anglo schools in this PISA ranking.

    Teacher qualifications. In public schools, secondary school music is taught by music specialists who have specialist music degrees and pedagogy qualifications. In Queensland and Tasmania, primary school music is taught by specialists. In all other states it is taught by generalists. The inadequate training has been described above.

  3. Music provision and teacher preparation in the countries with higher PISA scores than Australia is as follows:
  4. China (Shanghai). Music education provision. 2 hours/week in primary school.

    Teacher qualifications. All classes are taught by music specialists except in some rural areas, where teacher training has lagged.

  5. Hong Kong. Music education provision. Policy is that the primary schools will give 70-100 minutes/week to music, though in this regard schools have some autonomy.

    Teacher qualifications. Teachers are specialists usually in two subjects; there are no primary school generalists.

  6. Finland. Music education provision. 45 minutes/week, sometimes 2 x 45 minutes, to 7th grade, elective thereafter. In 13% of schools, additional special music classes of 3-4 hours/week. Also, there are additional possibilities in the highly subsidised municipal music schools, complementary to schools, ubiquitous in Europe.

    Teacher qualifications. In 15% of primary schools, music is taught by specialists, in 85% by generalists. However, half of the generalists – those who mainly have the responsibility for teaching music – have a music specialty. The music study required of those with a specialty is of the order of 940 hours, comprising up to 560 contact hours and the remainder personal work. The normal music training of a generalist is about 320 hours, including 270 contact hours. Secondary specialists study music for up to 8,800 hours.

  7. Singapore. Music education provision. Mandatory years 1-8. Years 1-4, two 30-minute periods per week. Years 5-6, one 30-minute period/week. Secondary, one 35-minute period/week. Beyond year 8, music is an elective.

    Teacher qualifications. There are generalist primary teachers but increasingly the music teachers have specialist qualifications in English, maths and music; secondary school music teachers have qualifications in music and one other subject. Therefore, there are similarities to the Hong Kong model. Current teachers are encouraged to take music PD courses. However, all music and art teachers are now being trained to specialise in only one subject.

  8. South Korea. Music education provision. 2 hours per week years 1-7, 1 hour/week grades 8-10.

    Teacher qualifications. Primary school music is taught by generalists, with some specialists. During preservice training, generalists can declare a major, including music major. Total hours of music instruction required of a generalist teacher are 158-161. Secondary school music is taught by specialists.

  9. Japan. Music education provision. 45 minutes/week through primary school, generalist teacher grades 1-4, specialist 5-6. Elective in secondary school.

    Teacher qualifications. Generalist primary school teachers for grades 1-4 receive 3 semesters of music training, 100 minutes per week, total 75 hours.

  10. Our Anglo colleagues did not significantly exceed Australia’s PISA scores nor is their music provision clearly superior:
  11. Canada. Music education provision. Primary 1-1.5 hours per 5 or 6 day cycle in possibly the best province for music, Manitoba, secondary is mostly elective. Variance between provinces.

    Teacher qualifications. There is no uniformity.

  12. New Zealand Music education provision. Required years 1-8, though unclear whether it is continuous, then elective thereafter.

    Teacher qualifications. The “training in music for elementary classroom teachers is minimal and most cannot hope to teach the syllabus with the training they have been given.” (Prof. John Drummond, University of Otago).

  13. It cannot be claimed that these countries excelled Australia in the PISA rankings because of the strength of their music education programs. However, it can be said that the strong inclusion of music has not prevented their superior performance.
  14. In all instances except the lower ranking Canada and New Zealand, teacher training in music for primary school teachers exceeded that provided to generalists in Australia.
National Declaration on the Educational Goals for Young Australians
  1. We note again the National Declaration (the ‘Melbourne Declaration’) as a statement of commitment by Education Ministers of Commonwealth, State and Territory governments with regard to school education.

    The curriculum will enable students to develop knowledge in the disciplines of English, mathematics, science, languages, humanities and the arts; to understand the spiritual, moral and aesthetic dimensions of life; and open up new ways of thinking. It will also support the development of deep knowledge within a discipline, which provides the foundation for inter-disciplinary approaches to innovation and complex problem-solving. (Page 12)

National Review of School Music Education
  1. This was commissioned by then-Minister for Education Brendan Nelson and published in 2005. It was followed by a National Music Workshop which proposed strategies for implementation. The report was accepted by both sides of politics but the Coalition left office before it could implement, although it took some minor initiatives, and Labor was diverted from implementation by the National Curriculum project.
  2. The music education community holds the report of the review in high regard and at this point, places more weight on it than anything that has yet emerged from the National Curriculum.
The National Curriculum
  1. Frankly, the National Curriculum is important mainly because it presents an opportunity to address a crisis in arts education. Those associated with the National Review found music education to have been in long decline to the point of collapse. There are some benefits from a curriculum that is national and the Music Council supports the initiative, but we already have effective curricula. The problem is to have them taught.
  2. The arts were included in the National Curriculum only after active lobbying by the National Association of Arts Advocates and the then Minister for the Arts, Peter Garrett. It is in the second tier of subjects and at this time, has proceeded through various consultations to the publication of a Shape Paper for the Arts, intended to guide the arts curricula writers. There is a separate curriculum for each of five art forms: dance, drama, media arts, music and visual arts. Writers have been appointed and have begun work.
  3. The Shape papers define achievements to be expected of students at the end of two year periods (excepting the first): K-2, 3-4, 5-6 etc. The goals are unexceptional; they are neither especially innovative nor backward-looking and the expectations are rather general and as one might expect.
  4. The Paper proposes ‘notional’ amounts of teaching time for the arts; the curricula are to be written in order to service these teaching times. If the total available time is divided equally among the art forms, the weekly time given to each art form is:
    • Years K-2: 12 minutes
    • Years 3-6: 15 minutes
    • Years 7-10: 24 minutes
  5. Consider the goals or outcomes to be achieved via these instruction times: for instance, the music goals for years 5-6 are that children will be able to arrange, compose, improvise and perform music, both singing and playing instruments, able to read and write music, listen to music identifying key features and making informed judgements, all in a variety of styles and genres, and utilise recording and other technologies. This is to be achieved through 15 minutes of instruction per week.
  6. The notional teaching time is no match for the proposed outcomes, whether those specific to the art form or the even more extensive objectives stated for the arts curricula in total.
  7. ACARA states that decisions about time allocations to different subjects rest with schools or systems. They may choose to allocate more than 15 minutes per week to teaching music. But in that case, they will not be served by the National Curriculum, which in theory fills only the first 15 minutes.
  8. Included among the outcomes is an ability to perform ‘playing instruments’. 15 minutes is about enough time to get the instrument out of the case, assemble it, tune it, play for a few minutes and put it back in the case.
  9. The time allocation in secondary school is 24 minutes a week. This is apparently supposed to suffice to prepare students who might wish to take up music as an HSC subject. It does not.

Some subsidiary issues

  1. Basically, our position is that if music and the arts are taught competently and resourced adequately, there is space in which the following issues can be addressed and constructive decisions made. Mention is made of the following matters in order to recognise them and to signal some of the issues.
Singing and instrument playing
  1. Everyone has a voice. Use of the voice carries the musical experience unequivocally into the body (contrast with education using computer instruments in which there is no relationship between physical effort and sound produced). Every musical genre has a fine repertoire for voice. Music education via singing avoids e.g. the financial impediments arising when it is delivered through instruction on musical instruments. On the other hand, singing does not provide a ‘space frame’ that gives a calibrated understanding of pitch, as do musical instruments. And musical instruments bypass the natural inequities when voices were handed out. The instrumental repertoire is possibly even richer than that for voice.
  1. There are any number of musical pedagogies. The Music Council supports a situation in which they can compete on merit. In Australia, pedagogical innovation is not vigorous at the systemic level, probably in part because of a long-term and debilitating contraction of resources. Innovation is not important only for its direct consequences but because the opportunity to innovate encourages an inquiring spirit and a dynamism in the system.
  2. It is notable that the UK’s major recent investment in music education has stimulated a good deal of pedagogical experimentation and innovation, from which there is some borrowing in Australia, for instance in the SA system. An increase in resourcing in Australia may engender similar experimentation and we suggest that this should be specifically supported.
  1. In achieving high craft, there is a strong argument for accurate imitation of brilliant performance or accurate interpretation of musical notation. This is generally the method by which classical music, the most complex and demanding genre, is taught. This is so also for dance and possibly is an aspect of education in other art forms.
  2. The Discussion Paper makes much of the power of the arts in fostering creative abilities. To bring the music on the notated page alive requires a form of creativity. Perhaps this might be likened to improving an existing product. There is also the ability to create something from nothing (although it is never really from nothing: creativity always proceeds from knowns). If arts education is to be a source of creative ability in the arts which then extends into creativity in non-arts areas, it must itself encourage creativity.
Musical genres
  1. People give personal loyalty to their musical genres of choice, the musical languages that speak to them. Which genres depends upon personal history and circumstances. The passionate investment in a genre can be invoked for educational purposes.
  2. Young people are very familiar with and passionate about the contemporary popular music much of which is created for, even by, them. It is readily available over commercial radio. It is appropriate that it is used in music education, although that is not necessarily welcomed by the students if schools are seen to be trespassing on their personal realm. Of course, there is a diversity of taste among young people and plenty of scope for personal preferences.
  3. Many other genres are important and have particular merits but are less publicly accessible. The emphasis on diversity in the Discussion Paper has plenty of room to play in music. Indigenous music gives insight into indigenous life and values. The musics brought here by immigrants are enormously diverse and are windows into their cultures. Computer-generated music is not only a method but also a set of genres and its generation imparts technological as well as musical skills. Jazz, blues, folk, country have societal connections and are locations for music improvisation. Classical music, which includes music from across history beginning with the Middle Ages up to works finished this morning, has endless intellectual interest and expressive complexity. All of these, and more, have a place in the curriculum. The proviso is that the richest experience of music is one of depth and this should not be sacrificed in the exploration of breadth.
  4. The great diversity of living musical genres in Australia is an aid to musical innovation via hybridisation. (Recall the importance of the interaction of diverse agents in complex adaptive systems.)
Australian music
  1. It is important that students study and perform Australian music, along with music from elsewhere, so that they understand that we too create music. They are Australians and they can create music. Australian music can tell our stories.
  1. There is no art form that so early and so completely embraced digital technology, using it at every step of the way from musical creation to delivery to the listener. Indeed, technology has dramatically disrupted the music industry in ways that are well known. Perhaps less well known is, for instance, the degree to which computer generated film or television soundtracks have displaced the work of live performers. The use of new technologies for musical creation and learning are important in the curriculum for students – and for their teachers, who may have even more to learn.
  2. Music students are able to learn much about music and musical techniques via computer instruction and their use of computers to create and disseminate music. Note that in some ways, the use of computers for musical creation and performance bypasses students’ limitation with physical instruments. In the process, students achieve technological literacy that can be applied broadly outside of music.
  3. Schools are of course equipping themselves with the new digital technologies and no doubt that presents challenges to teachers of all subjects. In music, the challenge is especially keen because the technologies pervade every aspect of the process of producing and distributing music as well as instructing in it. Some young digital natives could instruct the instructors. It is essential that systems and schools support teachers by providing equipment, maintaining it, and upgrading musical and pedagogical skills.
  1. There are endless possibilities for combining music with other art forms in computer-generated production.
Workplace practices
  1. Music teachers complain of exhaustion. They are routinely expected to fill the teaching day and then conduct rehearsals and performances after hours. They often complain of isolation and low status within their school environment. The most skilled are also the most capable of finding alternative employment and many do so. Systems that take music education seriously will find innovative ways of ensuring that their teachers are keen, of good skill and spirit, and contributing the richness that they can bring to students and school life. In some cases, that might require something of a revolution.

The main strategic task: implement the National Curriculum in the Arts

  1. The key strategy is to prepare and employ a competent teacher workforce.
  2. A number of solutions are described briefly below. At this time, we consider only music education and then only in primary schools in the belief that the issues there are the most urgent and that if they are solved, there will be a flow-through to better outcomes in secondary schools. Instrumental music services are treated separately, below. The alternatives:
    1. Train and employ specialist music teachers
    2. Generalist teachers receive adequate training in music
    3. All primary school teachers become specialists
    4. Provide instrumental music lessons to all primary school classroom teachers
Alternative 1: Music specialist teachers
  1. It is difficult to conceive that every primary school classroom teacher can be sufficiently competent in music – let alone five art forms, even if training were offered. In any case, children should be inspired and excited by music, and this is unlikely if the teacher is not musically skilled, pedagogically competent and very engaging.
  2. Specialist teachers are assigned a specific number of classes and to achieve those, may divide their time between a number of schools, depending upon the number of students in each school and travelling time between them.
  3. In England, music specialist teachers are employed by ‘music services’ which service the schools in particular localities. In Australia, some states provide musical instrument instructors on this model. The Dandenong Ranges Music Council, an independent organisation, has provided such services to its region, on contract. The regional conservatoria in NSW potentially offer another possible model. The advantages are competent supervision, flexible operations and a collegial home for the teachers, who find it difficult to achieve integration into the workforce that is full time at the school.
  4. The best outcome is likely to be achieved when the classroom generalist teachers are present in class and cooperate with the specialist. This offers a form of PD for the classroom teacher who is then able to utilise musical strategies to accelerate learning in other subjects. There are budgetary implications because the music class cannot be used to give the classroom teacher time out. Also, the classroom teacher should then still receive some basic musical instruction in undergraduate courses or as PD if already in the workforce.
  5. The physical provision of teachers for this solution would not be economic in small population centres and remote areas. Provision of services via the NBN is a likely solution.
  6. Since there would be a major increase in the number of specialist music teachers required, universities would need to expand their intake of students and the scheme would be implemented cumulatively as teachers become available. There may be difficulty in recruiting enough trainees and teachers and some new approaches may be necessary. At present, a musically and pedagogically trained music specialist without a general primary school qualification is not eligible for employment in NSW. In Victoria there is a university music lecturer with a PhD in performance who is not accepted as a music teacher in schools. Such pointless rigidity is not helpful. Music services might employ some professional musicians, pedagogically qualified, part time so that they can also pursue their performing careers, to mutual benefit.
  7. Arguments that the employment of specialist music teachers for primary schools is not feasible because of cost are disproved by the experience in Queensland and Tasmania.
  8. Estimated requirements for implementation:
    These are some of the requirements on which the cost of a scheme could be estimated.
    • Number of teachers required
    • Number of teachers already employed
    • Number of teachers to be trained
      • Estimated preservice education cost per year per teacher
    • Additional teachers to be employed
      • Estimated average cost of employment per teacher in the public school system, including on-costs and program costs
      • Add estimated costs of travel or NBN services
      • Total cost in the public school systems, by state
    • Cost of establishing and operating music services
    • Time required for complete implementation
Alternative 2: Generalist teachers receive adequate education in music
  1. In all but two states the responsibility in public primary schools for teaching music has been given to primary school generalist classroom teachers. This is the economy model for addressing the task.
  2. There is an intrinsic advantage claimed for the model. Musically trained classroom generalist teachers are with the class all day and able to integrate musical strategies into the teaching of other subjects. Music can become a daily, informal contributor to the classroom. This integration is said to be especially important in the early childhood years.
  3. The intrinsic disadvantage is that inevitably, whatever training is offered, a percentage of teachers have low musical aptitudes and their inadequacies are visited on the students.
  4. The practical disadvantage is that music education and as a subject with little status or profile has been consigned to the fringes and has declined spectacularly over the years.
  5. Let us be clear. In practice, the model has failed.
  6. It has failed primarily because the teachers are musically uneducated and are both incapable and fearful of teaching music. They are uneducated because a) the state employers do not require any demonstration of competence beyond evidence of a teaching degree and b) the universities choose not to include adequate music education in those degrees.
  7. Recall the research showing that the mandatory music training in the undergraduate degree for primary school teachers is 17 hours out of the c.1250 hours in a four year degree or through the two-year post-graduate degree, 10 hours.
  8. It is proposed that the mandatory music education required to achieve musical competence in primary classroom teachers needs the allocation of at least one contact hour per week over the duration of the four-year undergraduate course. This was possible decades ago when Australia was a much poorer country.
  9. Many teachers now acquire their teacher qualification through completion of a two-year post-graduate award. It is proposed that unless they can demonstrate some defined level of musical skills, these students should be provided with two hours per week of music education throughout the course.
  10. It is proposed that education authorities require a demonstration of musical competence consistent with this level of training as a requirement for eligibility for employment. Presumably, the responsibility for this assessment is given to the accreditation authorities.
  11. In the past, generalist teachers undereducated in music have had the support of regional consultants who can offer advice and guidance. A serious music education program would create or restore these positions.
  12. Estimated requirements for implementation

    We would like to be able to include financial estimate of the costs of these various scenarios but resources limit us to suggesting some cost components.

    • Define the required competencies.
    • Determine the costs of delivering the instruction to students. Acquire and allocate the funds.
    • Write university music courses for relevant undergraduate and postgraduate awards
    • Introduce the courses as a matter of urgency


    • Establish a structure to determine the music education competencies of members of the existing workforce.
    • Assess the competencies of each member
    • Design professional development programs
    • Develop structures, assign responsibilities for funding and delivery of the programs (by Commonwealth, states, professional associations, private providers?)
    • Determine a time frame
    • Cost, resource and implement a system of regional music consultants to support teachers.
Alternative 3: All primary school teachers become specialists in several subjects
  1. If all children are to receive an education in all the five art forms of the National Curriculum, and the education is to be provided by primary school generalist classroom teachers, then all of those teachers must achieve competence in all five art forms.
  2. This is alongside competence in literacy, mathematics, science, history, social sciences, languages and physical education. This range of competencies will be required of all primary school classroom teachers.
  3. It is difficult to believe that this can be achieved. Which of us feels capable of competency in five art forms? – let alone all of the subject areas listed?
  4. Complaints that primary school teachers are not capable of delivering the curriculum come from subject areas that receive much higher priority in teacher education that do the arts. Complaints from mathematics and history authorities have been reported in the press.
  5. A solution is presented by what we have been informed about the school system in Hong Kong (which as noted bested Australia in all categories in the recent PISA rankings). (Subsequently we have had conflicting information, but the concept survives!) In this model, there are no primary generalist classroom teachers. All teachers specialise in several subjects. Students see several teachers each week, with complementary skills that between them cover the whole curriculum. Teachers can be assumed to choose subjects in which they have a strong personal interest and talent. Students receive expert instruction in all subjects.
  6. Pastoral care is sustained and possibly improved, since students are not hostage to their relationship with a single teacher but have relationships with several. One of the teachers is assigned oversight responsibility for each class.
  7. The concept could be worked through to fit the Australian context. It addresses far wider issues than those concerned with arts teaching. Since teachers can concentrate on a more specialised set of interests, they have a much better opportunity to maintain currency in a world of rapid change and expansion of knowledge.
  8. Operational costs remain basically the same. The same number of teachers is required for the same number of students.
  9. Implementation costs are primarily in redesigning preservice and professional development courses and school management. Implementation would be cumulative.
  10. Estimated requirements for implementation
    • Redesign university courses.
    • Implement the new courses. On the face of it, there need not be an expansion of provision. Students would simply study fewer subjects over the same duration.
    • Design and implement professional development courses for the existing workforce. This would be an increased cost but not necessarily a higher cost than for the strategies associated with other solutions.
    • Design new management systems for schools and implement progressively as teachers become available.
    • Generalist teachers may still be needed for small country schools, but should be served by excellent backup via the NBN.
Alternative 4: An interim measure: provide instrumental instruction to primary school teachers
  1. This strategy has been proposed as an interim measure to lift the musical competence of the existing workforce.
  2. Classroom generalists would be provided with instruction on accompanying instruments such as the piano, keyboards or guitar. The musical competence so gained would be put to use in the classroom.
  3. The main advantage of this scheme is that it could be quickly deployed outside the education system. It would provide basic skills which teachers could build upon for educational purposes.
  4. The program might be closed once one of the strategies described above is implemented.
  5. Estimated requirements for implementation
    • Estimate the costs
    • Assign financial and administrative responsibility
    • Design the program
    • Teachers could be provided with the funds to engage privately with qualified instrumental teachers
    • A system of teacher accountability in money and outcomes is needed
    • Do teachers purchase instruments or are they provided?
    • Other requirements
    • Music education will have to be accommodated
      • in the timetable
      • in the building
      • with suitable equipment.

What we might expect if the selected strategy is working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Music education is delivered to primary school students by teachers who have been trained in the competencies required. KPIs: The number of trained music specialist teachers teaching primary school children, national, by state and by system; the number of schools covered, and as a percentage of the whole; the student:teacher ratio for those teachers. The number of primary schools and number of primary school students for which the responsibility for music education is assigned to generalist classroom teachers. The average number of mandatory hours of music education in their qualifying degrees. The number and identity of accreditation bodies that require competence in music education. The number and identity of education systems (state, catholic; independent not ‘systems’) that require competence in music education for eligibility for employment.
  2. If these teachers are generalist teachers, they are provided with expert backup through regional specialist consultants, the NBN and/or other suitable strategies. KPI: number and identity of systems that provide backup; quantity and quality of backup.
  3. If the strategy to train primary school teachers as specialists in several subjects is adopted, there would be an increase in the quality of teaching of all subjects and an increase in the quality of pastoral care. KPI: measure by student outcomes, with care taken about isolation of variables.
  4. There is a systematic provision of professional development opportunities offered to teachers by governments. KPI: measures of number of teachers completing workshops or courses, number of contact hours x number of teachers.
  5. Students complete primary school with musical skills at a level suitable for their age and level of advancement, and are prepared for continuation with music study in secondary school. (At present, there is no consistency in the preparation of students presenting for secondary school arts study.) KPI: measures of musical competence of all students at secondary school entrance level.
  6. Issues of inequity between public and independent school standards are at the least ameliorated. KPI: comparative measures of students outcomes in music between public and independent schools, and between public schools in affluent areas and low SES areas, at secondary school entrance and graduation,
  7. Public school students are not so disadvantaged by the lack of music education in their early years that they have little hope of tertiary admission. KPI: comparison of percentages of students from public, catholic and independent schools achieving entry to tertiary music institutions.
  8. The continuing, sequential, developmental study of music in the primary school years should, according to research, elevate achievements in creativity and in academic studies, increase social skills, achieve various types of technological competencies, reduce truancy and other ancillary benefits. KPI: Mount a large-scale, longitudinal study of the effects of continuing music study on a number of other outcomes such as those listed in this paragraph. There are many overseas models and it may be advantageous to replicate one. For instance, Champions of Change (1999)

Instruction on musical instruments: alternatives

  1. The National Review of School Music Education proposes (Strategic Directions 8 and 9) that it is ensured that every Australian student participates and engages in initial instrument programs and vocal programs and that students with identified interest are provided with sustained programs. Recommended actions cover the range of needs and possibilities including provision of musical instrument hire schemes, maintenance and repair services, professional development opportunities for teachers and performance opportunities for students. As noted above, Shadow Minister Garrett proposed to implement this recommendation during the 2007 election campaign.
  2. Instrumental instruction is offered by some systems but is generally conceived as separate from the classroom learning programs and is provided through special structures.
  3. Four scenarios are presented here:
    • Services operated by the education departments
    • School-based solutions
    • Services provided by community-based organisations
    • Use of private teachers
Services operated by the education departments
  1. Education Departments in WA, SA and QLD provide instrument instruction programs. In WA, for instance, the service has a physical base in the Perth CBD. Teachers are employed on a full-time basis and services are offered to public and other schools on a subsidised basis. Parents pay fees for instruction and may also rent instruments for the service.
  2. In Queensland, the service reaches about 10% of students.
  3. The ‘music service’ model is used widely in England and evaluations of outcomes could be investigated.
  4. South Australia has been experimenting with approaches found successful in the UK, such as whole of class instrumental learning and Music Futures, the second a structure for self-directed learning involving instruments. The whole of class model has been extremely effective with a very high percentage of students wishing to continue instruction into subsequent years. The National Review recommendation for initial instrumental instruction for all students could be satisfied at comparatively low cost per student through this model. However, it seems to be so successful that many more than 10% of students could be participating.
School-based solutions
  1. Some schools set up programs to offer instrumental or ensemble instruction on premises after hours for a fee. Sometimes the fees are subsidised through fund-raising by parents.
  2. Such initiatives are to be valued but they are not systemic and are much less likely to be offered in schools in less affluent areas where for various reasons the parents can neither pay for lessons nor raise funds to subsidise them.
  3. Most states have a small number of selective schools specialising in music and they may offer instrumental instruction. However, they are secondary schools and do not address the urgent needs in the formative primary school years.
Services provided by community-based organisations
  1. In every European country, the ‘municipal music schools’ are an important element in musical and civic life. In Australia, the only systematic development of such schools is found in the regional conservatoria in NSW. The Music Council proposes that the model is extended across the country. A more detailed description is found in the Community Music Education section.
  2. It would be possible for these organisations to take up the role of service provider to the school system on contract, whether for classroom music in primary schools or expert instrumental instruction.
  3. The Dandenong Ranges Music Council takes wide responsibility for music education and performance in the region. It has contracted with the Education Department to provide music instruction in schools and offers fee-for-service music lessons and ensembles in its own premises.
  4. Diversity. In addition to these formal community-based resources, schools might also call upon musically skilled parents and community members to assist with music programs. Especially in immigrant communities, they may be able to bring knowledge of the musics of their own cultures not otherwise available to the school through school teachers but potentially of high interest to the children.
Use of private teachers
  1. Many of the students presenting for admission to conservatoria have gained their skills from instruction from independent studio teachers paid for by their parents. In present circumstances, this source of instruction is indispensable. Unfortunately, it is limited to those who can pay.
  1. It is only through systemic provision that universal opportunity can be offered.
  2. Therefore, the Music Council recommends that consideration should be given either to
    1. building up state-based instrumental services, or
    2. the establishment of ‘municipal music schools’ subsidised to a level that fees are low and inability to pay is not a bar to participation.
    3. Collaboration between schools and municipal music schools is encouraged
What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Every child will have the opportunity to receive expert instruction in performing on a musical instrument. KPI: for schools, describe the nature of the opportunity provided by each system, and the number and percentage of students served. For municipal schools, list the number, location of schools, and the number of students enrolled, year by year.
  2. If the municipal music school model were implemented, professional musician/teachers will become residents in regional and outer metropolitan areas, lifting the quality of musical instruction and enriching local cultural life. KPI: for regional schools, list the number of FTE teachers, year by year.
  3. Municipal music schools and regular schools collaborate in providing services to the community. KPI: List agreements for collaboration.

The contribution of performing organisations

  1. There is great value in giving children direct contact with skilled performing musicians or other artists. This can bring a level of meaning, comprehension, excitement that they cannot achieve through listening to each other or even to media presentations.
  2. The children can discover that art is made not only be electrons on a screen but by living people there in the same room. They can talk to them, touch them. One day, they might be them. They can catch fire with the desire to emulate the performers.
  3. In Australia, performances designed for school children are offered by organisations large and more modest: the orchestras and opera companies, Musica Viva, the Song Room for small ensembles, a Melbourne organisation for multicultural performances, and many individual groups. The orchestras tend to present concerts in concert halls. Others take their performances into the schools. Many prepare special kits for school teachers and may also offer teacher training workshops.
  4. The core of music education must be instruction delivered at least weekly. That is usually not within the province of these organisations.
  1. The performances have to be paid for. Decide on an approximate minimum provision of services and ensure that all schools, including those from lower SES areas, have the funds to purchase them.
What we might expect if this strategy is working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in italics in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. A heightened understanding by students of the art forms and increased motivation to achieve within them. KPI: student evaluations, for those exposed to this service vs. those who are not. Trend.
  2. A heightened understanding by school teachers and principals of the art forms, the practitioners, and pedagogical alternatives. KPI: results of survey of school personnel, conducted every few years.
  3. Additional employment for artists. KPI: Quantify by surveys of providers.
  4. More integration of the performing organisations into the community and an increased understanding of the requirements for effective presentation and music education for these audiences.
  5. Improved financial status for the performing organisations. KPI: financial reports of provider organisations showing impact of these activities.
  6. In due course, an expanded audience for the musics experienced. KPI: audience surveys say every five years, showing size of audience, personal responses to questions about key experiences in earlier life influencing their decisions to attend.


  1. Once again, we discuss music as our area of expertise, but suggest that extrapolations can be made to other art forms.
  2. Music Council research provides a summary of student enrolments and award programs in Australian tertiary music institutions. The data does not yet include TAFE colleges. Approximately 5,000 students are enrolled across 98 award programs. The study can be found at

The situation

  1. The situation is described in two Music Council submissions to the Higher Education Base Funding Review. The following information is drawn from those submissions. Statistical data cited here can be confirmed through reference to them.

  2. The Discussion Paper reveals that it is the government’s ambition that Australian arts practice achieves the highest level of achievement recognised internationally and that Australia is rewarded both economically and through international acknowledgement of its culture.
  3. In music, this cannot be achieved unless the tertiary music institutions can provide professional preparation to our artists at the highest international level.
  4. They are not doing so because, primarily, their funding is seriously inadequate.
  5. There is virtually no public tertiary music program in Australia that is not operating at a loss.
  6. Huib Schippers, Music Council Board Member and Director of the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, says teaching a singer or instrumentalist is ‘like pulling teeth’. He does not mean that it is difficult, although it is, but that the teaching can proceed only one mouth at a time, for music as for dentistry. But conservatoria are funded as though music is taught in classes to 50 at a time. For purposes of funding, they are wrongly categorised and that causes immense difficulty in achieving high level outcomes. Some instruction can be given in classes but the instruction upon which professional success for performing musicians most depends must be given individually. If we do not provide that to an adequate level, we put our students at a competitive disadvantage with students in most competing countries.
  7. The financial losses are managed in various ways. Firstly, programs are cut back. The cuts have been very serious. For instance, since introduction of the Dawkins ‘reforms’ twenty years ago, the number of teaching contact hours in music in at least some institutions has halved. At Melbourne University they declined from 1105 hours in 1992 to 556 hours in 2011.
  8. The institutions cannot cut to a level where their programs lack all credibility. After the program cuts have been made, a loss still remains. In some institutions, this is allowed to accumulate so that the program carries an intimidating debt burden and is continually under pressure to cut further. In others, internal transfers are made to manage the situation, leaving a sense of obligation, illegitimacy and foreboding hanging over the music faculty and management.
  9. The situation gets worse and some programs fear closure. Because public payments to the institutions are based on a per-student rate, there is no real solution in cutting enrolments, which in any case would also weaken programs.
  10. Australian music graduates emerge into a world that demands international standards of accomplishment. Some emigrate to the larger markets of Europe, the USA, Asia where of course they must meet international competition directly. But even if they stay in Australia, they perform for Australian audiences that also are familiar with international standards through media exposure, tours of Australia by foreign artists and their own overseas touring. Some students of course achieve those standards, often through postgraduate study or experience overseas. The small survey of the Australian Chamber Orchestra was mentioned earlier. 7 of the 9 respondents had undertaken postgraduate study, but only one of them in Australia.
  11. One to one teaching is indispensable. The Music Council study collected information from four main Australian conservatoria: Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The number of one to one hours of instruction per year ranged between 18 and 28, and that for a teaching year that barely covered half of the weeks. The numbers for high quality institutions in Europe – in the UK, Germany, Finland and Denmark, ranged from 39 to 51 hours per year. The number of weeks of instruction ranged up to 36.
  12. Expenditures from government funds per student in Australia ranged between $16,500 and $24,700 per year – but between 50% and 68% of this is withheld by the university to cover overhead or other costs, leaving as little as 32% to actually deliver instruction. Expenditures per student in our foreign examples ranged from $32,500 and $51,800. We have no information about whether or how much of these funds go to central administration. Even assuming similarity to Australia, there are enormous disparities.
  13. Some of the foreign institutions also have private funds at their disposal. For instance, combining its already high government funding with funds from private source, the Royal College of Music in London has total funds per student at 235% of those available to the Adelaide or Brisbane institutions.
  14. Because of the financial situation of our tertiary music institutions, they routinely oblige their faculty members to transfer time from research to increased teaching duties. Typically the 40:40:20 teaching/research/administration split changes to something like 60:20:20. This is inequitable. It disadvantages the music faculty members in maintaining the vitality of their practice and progress in their careers, and it disadvantages the institutions in their claims to contribute to the academic enterprise. Insofar as their funding depends on their research output, a bad situation is made worse. The institutions are less attractive to prospective faculty members, especially those in countries where research time is honoured.
  15. Australian students operate in an international market – but so also do Australian tertiary music institutions. They compete with their foreign counterparts for foreign and Australian students and faculty. They are in a poor position to compete.
  16. Funding to tertiary education programs is based upon their assignment to ‘funding clusters’, a tiered model that supposedly funds programs roughly in accordance with the relative costs of delivery. Music and the arts are assigned to Cluster 5, along with social sciences, languages and some other classroom based disciplines which have quite different cost bases.
  17. The Music Council believes that music should be moved to Cluster 8 because of costs associated with the essential one to one and small group instruction, the costs of providing opportunities for performance, involving special facilities and equipment, the specialised nature of the required building and performance facilities, the special nature of IT and audio-visual requirements, the provision of musical instruments and equipment, especially those that cannot be supplied on site by the students such as pianos, and administrative needs not found in other disciplines such as individual management of students with regard to auditions, assignments to ensemble or roles, assessment of performances by panels.
  18. It is possible that an undergraduate degree from an Australian music institution is not sufficient preparation for professional life. Postgraduate study should be offered and funded at a level that does not impose a debt burden that is too difficult to manage, given the expected professional income.
  19. There is a view that Australian tertiary institutions should look for greater collaboration with professional performing institutions such as the orchestras and opera companies, in the case of the classical music programs, to provide additional high-level opportunities for advanced students.
  20. Also, it is known that graduates emerge into a world of work with little but their musical expertise, innocent of skills that will enable them better to manage their careers and business affairs. It is suggested that every undergraduate course should include some instruction these matters.
  21. In conclusion, it should be said that in the circumstances the Australian tertiary music institutions do produce good results and some students go on to major careers. The problem is not so much the education that is provided as the education that cannot be provided.


  1. Provide adequate funding for Australian tertiary music institutions to offer programs and instruction at international best practice levels and to employ faculty on the basis of a workload and division of duties that is conforms to international best practice. This may be achieved by assigning them to a high Funding Cluster, or by other means.
  2. Reconsider the place of the music conservatorium or program within the university: it makes a special contribution culturally to the university and as a public face and community service on behalf of the university. Do not make it depend inappropriately on research output for its funding. Research is not the primary purpose of a tertiary music institution; rather it is musical creativity through the creation and performance of music.
  3. Facilitate postgraduate study in music.
  4. Encourage partnerships between tertiary music institutions and professional performance organisations to enhance high level preparation of advanced students.
  5. Include career and business management courses in undergraduate music programs.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Financially viable tertiary music institutions achieving international best practice in all levels of their programs. KPIs: P&L and balance sheet of the institutions; evaluation by methods to be devised of the quality of their graduates.
  2. Recognition by universities of the special contribution to campus and community life offered by their music programs, with an appropriate shift in performance expectations. KPI: evidence of appropriate change in expectations by universities of the nature of their music institutions contribution to university life and outcomes.
  3. Music graduates who are able to compete at international standards, both in the creation and the performance of music. KPI: evidence of the standards achieved by students and graduates, subject if possible to international comparisons; evidence of international success of students and graduates.
  4. Music graduates who are capable of managing their careers and business affairs to at least a basic level. KPI: number of institutions offering undergraduate courses in this area, contact hours, number of students passing the courses.
  5. More students completing postgraduate study and so becoming competitive in the market. KPI: number, level, subdiscipline of postgraduate degrees awarded.


The situation

  1. Much of the important music education in Australia is in the hands of studio music teachers in private practice.
  2. No qualification is required to offer services as a private music teacher. There has long been discomfort in the music sector about the ‘variable’ standards among these teachers.
  3. Many studio teachers belong to professional associations such as the state Music Teacher Associations or associations for teachers of instruments classes such as the Australian Strings Association or the Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing. Some of these associations, especially the state Music Teachers’ Associations, have introduced accreditation schemes. There is a potential for conflict if such an association needs paying membership but requires that members be accredited.
  4. In 2010, the Music Council organised a one-day national summit for the classical music sector to identify problems and possible solutions facing classical music. Studio teachers of course teach among them many genres of music but their roots were in classical music. The classical summit identified the lack of consistent and adequate standards among studio teachers as a problem that should be addressed and proposed the introduction of a national accreditation scheme.
  5. The Music Council took this proposal to the music teacher associations. They agreed in principle to the establishment of a best international practice accreditation scheme. However, progress has been slow.
  6. The Music Council does not believe that accreditation of studio teachers should be mandatory. It does believe that a best practice accreditation regime should be introduced and promoted so that the public and the industry understand the value of accreditation and make choices accordingly.
  7. The scheme should require accredited teachers to maintain accreditation by undertaking professional development activities on a regular basis. This also will lift standards over time.
  8. If the scheme has quality and integrity, it also could be used by schools to identify studio teachers to fill employment positions for which their skills are suited. This is a goal of the associations in proceeding with the project.
  9. They have asked that if they are able to agree on an accreditation regime, the Music Council will manage a national register and also will promote the scheme to the public and to the schools. Subject to having its costs covered and to being satisfied with the quality of the accreditation requirements, the Council has agreed.
  10. We believe that the scheme would be enhanced if there were some oversight and endorsement by the national government. We do not propose that the government should be responsible for administering it, but it could approve or propose amendments periodically to the accreditation criteria and may wish also to be satisfied that the scheme is operated with integrity.


  1. Music teacher associations collectively develop an international best practice national accreditation scheme. Applicants would be required to address specific criteria in order to achieve accreditation and would also need to re-register periodically after satisfying professional development requirements.
  2. Accreditation would not be mandatory but its merits would be widely publicised to the public and to potential employers.
  3. The Music Council would agree to serve as a national administrator, undertaking responsibilities as agreed with the associations.
  4. The scheme would be financially self-sustaining.
  5. The Commonwealth would endorse the scheme and would have the prerogative to approve or propose amendments to the criteria for accreditation and in general would be able to set the terms for its continuing endorsement.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in italics in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. The standards of studio teaching will rise. KPI: This might be measured by the standards achieved in examinations under the auspices of the Australian Music Examinations Board, or for tertiary entrance.
  2. The public will be more aware of the standards and will seek to use them as criteria in purchasing services. KPI: Public survey every three years, measuring awareness (broad survey), influence on choice of teachers (might survey parents of students, students, sitting for exams under the Australian Music Examinations Board).
  3. So also will potential employers such as schools. KPI: adoption by schools and others of accreditation as a criterion for selecting contractors.
  4. Conditional Commonwealth endorsement will encourage the profession and its associations to ensure high standards.


The situation

  1. Music education is offered formally and informally in many, many ways at the community level. This is the base of the musical pyramid, along with school music education; but at the community level, it is open to all ages and tastes.
  2. But community music education does not operate only at the base of the pyramid. This pyramid is complete. For example, there are school and community children’s orchestras and at a higher level, the city or state youth orchestras and arguably, at the national level, the Australian Youth Orchestra. The Gondwana Choir sits at the top of a similar pyramid for children’s choirs. The Commonwealth funds the Australian Youth Orchestra directly, at a substantial level. It may be appropriate to support peak national groups in other genres in a similar way.
  3. Many bands, choirs, orchestras, music theatre groups and others are seen through the public eye as performers but in fact, before the performances there may be intensive educational activity.
  4. At a more overtly formal level, there are the regional conservatoria or community music schools which we have already recommended should receive government endorsement and assistance as a part of the National Cultural Policy.
  5. Also, we may expect that instruction may reach community based programs in the regions via the NBN. There may be a role for the Commonwealth in assisting provision of the technical facilities to receive this instruction in spaces suited to musical activity.
  6. Commonwealth policy for sport begins with support to the grassroots and follows through to the Olympic level and the Australian Institute of Sport. It could conceive a similar role in music. The sport strategy takes in, for instance, the organization of junior sporting clubs and competitions – a complex patchwork. The concept is clean and simple but the implementation should best pick up an array of successful activities, some of them well tested, as well as new initiatives that fill gaps. The idea needs study and development.

Education via the community music schools

  1. As noted, throughout Europe and Russia, the ‘municipal music schools’ are an important element in musical and civic life. There are thousands of them. Their programs are based around individual instrumental and vocal instruction. While operated by local government, they are heavily subsidised by national government. For the most part, the student or parent pays a low fee – say 25% of the cost and there can be special arrangements for those who cannot afford even this fee. They may be free. Often the public school offers classroom music, ensembles and so on, and the instrumental instruction is provided by the municipal music schools.
  2. The municipal music school structure, if adequately subsidised, presents some advantages. The schools are a professionally friendly environment for musicians and so can attract a more musically skilled workforce than might be possible for the schools, especially in the regions. The teachers, out of hours, are likely to build the musical life in the region whether through establishing community music ensembles or performing professionally, thus adding a context from which musical instruction borrows meaning.
  3. In the 2004 election, Labor policy included support to the implementation nationally of such a scheme.
  4. In NSW, there are 17 regional conservatoria offering instrumental and other instruction at a pre-tertiary level with sometimes some TAFE level courses also. They are autonomous organisations lightly subsidised by the state government through the Education Department. Lessons are charged for at market rates. Buildings often are provided with assistance from local and possibly, state government, sometimes with private contributions also.
  5. One of the great benefits from these organisations is that because they can offer a reliable income for professional teachers/musicians, they make it possible for professionals to live away from the cities to enrich the skills and musical life of the region.
  6. It would be possible for these organisations to take up the role of service provider to the school system on contract, whether for classroom music in primary schools or expert instrumental instruction.
  7. The regional conservatoria are fee-for-service institutions and so serve those who can afford to pay. Presumably, many interested people cannot.
  8. The Dandenong Ranges Music Council takes wide responsibility for music education and performance in the region. It has contracted with the Education Department to provide music instruction in schools and offers fee-for-service music lessons and ensembles in its own premises.
  9. Otherwise, we propose that the provision of music education at community level should be taken up in the more general sphere of community music development, which we address below in a separate section.
  10. Building the Education Revolution: community access to school halls. The Commonwealth could provide a framework to encourage compliance with the community access provision of the BER school hall contracts. Strategies could be developed to encourage not just use of halls by community music organisations, but embedding those organisations within the school community.


  1. In general, support community music education in the context of a broad program of community music development.
  2. The Commonwealth to support the establishment and operation of municipal or regional music schools, as already proposed in Section B.
  3. The Commonwealth to assist in provision of equipment to support instruction in appropriate facilities delivered via the NBN.
  4. The Commonwealth to develop an imaginative and comprehensive plan for support to community music education and development from the grassroots through to high pre-professional levels. This will contribute to projection of Australian culture internationally as described in the international section of this paper.
  5. As an aspect of this plan, the Commonwealth to be alert to the possibilities for supporting peak community-based performing organisations in choral music, music theatre, opera or other genres.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in italics in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. All persons will have ready access to music education programs offered at the community level. KPI: a mapping exercise carried out by local councils with Commonwealth assistance to show the availability of music education programs.
  2. There will be a major increase in musical competence in the general population, leading right through to the international projection of Australian artists. KPI: competence might be difficult to measure on such a broad basis, but perhaps there could be an ABS survey of the duration of musical instruction received, or some other proxy for competence.
  3. There will be increased employment opportunities for teachers at the community level, including in the regions. KPI: Survey of organisations employing music teachers to determine number of FTE positions.
  4. Through support to peak youth activities in various genres, there will be a boost to standards and achievements in the industry. KPI: musical standards assessed by peers on a five-yearly basis; commercial achievements could be measured by domestic and export sales.


  1. There are needs for the education of professional musicians, managers and others that may not be met through the sources already described.

Professional development for school music teachers

  1. There will be a need for professional development courses to enable teachers to teach the new National Curriculum. If the problem of unskilled primary school teachers is to be addressed, solutions must reach not only the future teachers now taking undergraduate degrees but also the vast number of existing, untrained teachers. As we understand it, responsibility for provision of professional development courses is often left by state (and Commonwealth) governments to, for instance, the professional associations. Decisions will need to be made about who is to provide and with what resources. The problem is more acute for the arts subjects than for subjects such as literacy where preparation for teaching the National Curriculum requires mainly the redirection of existing skills; in the arts, teachers may have no skills to redirect.
  2. While this much expanded program of professional development is intended in the first instance to prepare the workforce to deliver the national curriculum, it should be sustained into the future to provide for continuing enhancement of skills.
  3. The Commonwealth is responsible for tertiary education and also for the initiation of the National Curriculum. We suggest that the Commonwealth has a responsibility to ensure that these professional development courses are available on appropriate terms.

Classical young artist programs

  1. Many of the professional orchestras and opera companies have postgraduate level performance programs for musicians seeking to enter the profession. These are invaluable and to be encouraged. Consideration could be given to dedicating a component of MPAO and KPAO triennial funding to the implementation of rigorous intern programs as well as long term development positions for artists entering leadership roles (i.e. directors, producers, conductors). Currently many programs are either tokenistic or deal too superficially with the skills needed to succeed in the global arts market – mostly because the programs are unfunded. There also needs to be a distinction between intern programs (of the kind which could occur in conjunction with Conservatorium training programs or parallel to those programs) and emerging artist programs to help artists’ transition from full time education to full time work.

Business skills for young artists

  1. There seems to be great interest among young contemporary music practitioners in gaining marketing and business skills that can carry them to professional success. Workshops and short courses are offered by a very few universities, some TAFE colleges and industry organisations such as state Music Industry Associations (e.g. WAM in Perth, Q Music in Brisbane). For those of serious intent, short courses are not enough.
  2. Development of Australian music exports into the future requires transference of business and production skills to the next generation of artists who will have to be competitive both as musicians and in their use of with e-media, finance, marketing, accounting and logistics. Building Commonwealth support and training programs into popular Fringe Festivals and other youth events that attract many early stage career musicians could be a way of disseminating a skill base to a fragmented contemporary popular music sector

Arts administration

  1. Some universities offer degree programs in arts administration, probably directed at employment more in the non-profit sector. Such qualifications become increasingly an eligibility requirement for employment.

High level education for managers and marketers

  1. MBA programs give a general foundation. There is a need in the commercial music industry for courses that deal specifically with its needs.


  1. Devise and implement an ongoing professional development program in the five art forms to ensure that all existing teachers responsible for delivery of the national curriculum in the arts are competent to do so. Determine funding needs, assign funding responsibilities between Commonwealth and states. Determine operational needs, assign responsibilities between Commonwealth, state and professional providers.
  2. Encourage provision of high level young artist programs by the large professional performing organisations. Funding bodies should regard these activities as an appropriate call on organisational budgets and subsidies.
  3. Encourage public and private provision of short and longer courses in career managements and business skills for artists.
  4. Investigate the need for high level education for music industry managers and marketers, addressing specific needs of the industry, and propose how it might be met.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. School teachers with responsibility for delivering the national curricula in the arts will be capable of doing so. There will be a structure through which they can continue to upgrade their skills into the future. KPIs: measures of teacher competence. Measures of participation in professional development, outcomes. See paras 245ff.
  2. All Australian school children will achieve basic competence in five art forms. KPIs: measures of student outcomes at the end of each period designated by the National Curriculum through to grade 8.
  3. There will be flow-on benefits to student performance in other subjects, socialisation, school retention and other factors as identified by the research. KPI: see proposed research, para 252.
  4. Greater availability of high level young artist programs will lift Australian achievement set against international standards. KPI: maintain list of such programs, track trends, if possible, assess outcomes.
  5. Greater business competence by young artists will engender more career success and possibly an expansion of audiences and more penetration of international markets. KPI: over time, follow the financial data, determine trend, attempt to establish correlation with business competence of artists.
  6. Greater competence by music industry managers will build the success of the industry especially in the international arena. KPI: value of music exports, usually measured in royalty payments, but also if possible via income from touring.


  1. (Supported by the right to participate in one’s own culture under United Nations declarations.)

This section includes the following points:

  • A prerequisite to cultural inclusion and cohesion is access to participation.
  • ‘Cultural democracy’: cultural production as a means to personal and community identity and empowerment. Everyone can participate. The internet confirms.
  • Art-making is more valuable than art consumption
  • Obstacles to participation include price, geography and transport, lack of education, unfamiliarity, disadvantage of membership in special population groups; all can be addressed by community music programs.
  • Community-based music education has special values of flexibility, responsiveness, diversity. In partnership with the formal sector, it can lead to the upper reaches of the profession.
  • Local government has special responsibilities and opportunities through community arts development.
  • Community music development can contribute to local economies both directly and as a lure to investment and new residents.

A prerequisite to cultural inclusion and cohesion is access to participation

  1. A prerequisite to cultural inclusion and cohesion is access to participation.
  2. There are two forms of participation: the consumption of culture, and the creation or re-creation of culture.
  3. From the 80s, official cultural policy concerning opening access began to move away from access to consumption towards access to participation in art-making. The Australia Council now uses the terms ‘creative participation’ and ‘receptive participation’.

Cultural democracy

  1. In early days, there was an emphasis on access to the high arts. They should not be available only to those for whom education or wealth made them a normal part of life. The opportunity to participate in the high arts should be available to everyone, both as consumers and practitioners.
  2. At that time, the policy discounted other genres that were already of great interest to many people. The idea of cultural democracy took hold. The validity of a genre of art is proven simply by the interest of people in it. Everyone has the right to participate in cultural production. ‘Community arts’ became ‘community cultural development’ – to an extent, the arts became the means instead of the end.
  3. The concept of cultural democracy has been bolstered by new attitudes around the internet. People expect to contribute as well as to consume.

Art-making is central

  1. Art-making is central. Those who are concerned with these matters know that the strongest personal experience and valuing of the arts results from art-making rather than simply art-consumption – provided that the conditions are right
  2. For example, in a meeting in September 2009, there was unanimity among the members of an expert reference group for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) that the new national arts curricula should be based on art-making.
  3. In the USA in 2006, the Knight Foundation published a study showing that people who had learnt to perform music as children were likely to become symphony ticket buyers as adults but that children who attended special concerts by symphony orchestras were not. 23 Art making leads to art consumption.

Inclusion and cohesion

  1. Inclusion and cohesion. Moreover, there must surely be a greater sense of inclusion following from making something (to be consumed) than consuming something, from creating a culture than observing it. And while some social cohesion may come from being a part of the collective experience of an audience, how much more from being in a team of creators?

Obstacles to participation

  1. There have been many studies over the years to discover obstacles to participation. Here are some of the main obstacles.
    1. Price. Subsidy policy was once intended in part to increase accessibility by supporting lower ticket prices. These days, subsidy simply makes the production possible. Companies are continually challenged to become financially self-reliant. Subsidised companies are obliged to charge what the market will bear and accessibility is thereby diminished.

      Governments could again subsidise to support lower costs of access. Note the leap in attendances at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney when the admission charge was removed.
    2. Geographical convenience. People are prevented from participating by distance, the availability of transport and the cost and time of travel. This is another strong argument for encouragement of cultural activity in every community.
    3. Educational level. Many studies show that the variable with which arts participation is most strongly correlated is educational level. Paul Costantura: Australians and the arts. Annandale, NSW: The Federation Press, 2001

      2002 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts and ”Research Note #81 ””National Endowment for the Arts, Wahsington DC, USA. ” A cultural policy that is serious about increasing participation must encompass the provision of arts education and arts-making as well as education generally.

    4. Unfamiliarity. Artistic work can be inaccessible because it is not understood or because the audience lacks the flexibility or motivation to go beyond the familiar. The very serious lack of arts education in Australian schools leaves much of the population without the exposure to or knowledge of the arts that make them intellectually or emotionally accessible.
    5. Some special populations. A general cultural policy to increase access may not suffice to open opportunities for members of a number of population groups such as these:
      1. Disabled. Disabled people encounter the same obstacles in the arts as in other activities. There have been responses: arts therapies address some needs; there are physical access requirements in place in many arts venues. Among the difficulties to be addressed are assumptions about the limits on artistic activity among the disabled which can lead to limits on the support offered to them. For instance, Adelaide’s Tutti Ensemble is demonstrating that a professional career in the arts is possible for talented disabled people, given the right circumstances. But the structure of support mechanisms actually works against these possibilities and so maintains an unnecessary level of dependency and prevents self-fulfilment. Review the support mechanisms.
      2. Ageing. As the population grows older, there is increasing interest in the value of special arts programs in building a sense of community, keeping people engaged and healthy – and in providing therapeutic services to those who are not doing so well. A small financial input can produce disproportionate benefits to health and wellbeing.

        Probably there is a need for more training of practitioners, broader organisation of opportunities, some diversion of funds.

        The ageing or injured can face some of the same access issues as the disabled: problems with physical access to venues, transport issues, assumptions about incapacities. Many also are constrained by financial problems, e.g. the diminishing value of fixed incomes from savings or superannuation.
      3. Indigenous. Issues limiting access can include many of those listed, exacerbated by extreme distances and isolation for some, poverty, educational disadvantage, racism, alienation from the dominant culture or even own culture. An arts access program is probably a designated component of more comprehensive solutions. See the Indigenous section of the submission.
      4. At-risk youth. There is abundant experience in Australia and elsewhere that art-making can divert at-risk youth into more constructive lives. Because these people are probably effectively not within the formal educational structure, special measures must be taken to reach them. Prevention costs money, but saves even more.

A loose structural basis for addressing these issues: community music development

  1. ‘Community music development’ we take to be based around activities organised within a community by its members, usually independently of the official institutions but sometimes in collaboration with them. Local government may be involved and this can be taken generally as positive provided that space remains for effective independent initiatives. Local government is well placed to provide places and spaces for self-generated musical activity and in some cases be able to provide equipment and funding.
  2. Community music is a vibrant and widespread phenomenon, enriching the lives of people across geographical locations, social and cultural backgrounds. It has been undervalued and often invisible as a powerful player in the cultural arena because of one of its very strengths: strong local engagement and support, which often leads to relative independence from external drivers and funding,
  3. A less positive corollary is that community music leaders, especially in rural, regional and remote areas, report a feeling of working in isolation without peer support or other support structures commonly available in other fields of endeavour.
  4. Loose but often very effective organisational structures have evolved around many community music activities. These are mostly as the result of bottom-up processes, are highly adaptable to change, challenges and new opportunities and are often led by a single visionary individual.

The value of continuity

  1. The value of continuity. Community music programs tend to show a strong commitment to providing ongoing activities. Even if the activities are seasonal and only happen during particular periods in the year, the regularity of these activities is an important factor in their organisation.
  2. Continuing activities are more economical, requiring lower levels of continuous funding rather than much larger one-off grants for stop-start or project based activities. Indeed, in the realm of community cultural development, a single initiative offered to a community and then withdrawn may leave the community in a worse state than before it began.
  3. It is very important to understand an on-the-ground aspect of infrastructural support to community music development and partnerships. The situation of the Dandenong Ranges Music Council offers an example. This organization has become a driver for community music development in its region. Because of its existence and the manner of its operation, there has been a burgeoning of autonomous music organisations such as choirs. The (e.g.) choir members’ interests lie in their social and musical participation, not in larger views of choral or musical development in the community. The choirs can operate with volunteers in partnership with paid professional artists. The community Music Council is taking a broader view and as it has become more effective in planning for the whole community and mentoring the smaller organisations, its work no longer gives direct gratification to people who only want to sing. It needs professional management and for that it needs funding continuity  because this is development of new and innovative arts initiatives over a longer term which  gives communities ownership of their own cultural identity and builds the creative capacity we strive for from grass roots level.
  4. A focus on funding continuous activity and providing for physical and administrative infrastructure to support this activity allows for the acceptance (or ideally the encouragement of) of artistic failure. Only with the freedom to fail, spectacularly and often, can we give our artists the chance to achieve innovative creative success.

Community-based education

  1. The community or municipal music school has been described in the school music education section of the submission. The potential for creating synergies between music education in schools and community music making is considerable and far from being fulfilled. But in the community music sector, a wide array of approaches to learning and teaching is encountered, ranging from informal to highly formalised, in most cases with great sensitivity to context and fitness for purpose.
  2. The advent of the regional conservatoria into NSW has resulted in those communities sending many more students directly into capital city tertiary music institutions to train for professional careers.
  3. Different styles and approaches to teaching, and a commitment to inclusivity found in many community music practices can be particularly successful in connecting with students in culturally diverse environments.
  4. For instance, community music organisations provide educational programs with funding from all three levels of government. These can include such programs as: hip hop workshops for at-risk youth, intended to steady and divert them from drug-taking or various types of anti-social or criminal behaviour; music education programs in prisons, with similar objectives; programs for the disabled, often now of very sophisticated design able to build previously unexpected competencies and self-esteem; music-making programs for older people, sometimes going to musical competencies that survive more general mental deterioration, and more often just contributing to enjoyment of life and a late expansion of abilities.

Community music can fill an entire pyramid

  1. It is noted elsewhere that, viewed from a particular perspective, community based (i.e. controlled) organisations do not just occupy the base of a pyramid but in some instances are found at its tip. For example, there are community- or school-based choirs which feed into choirs that draw from an entire metropolitan area and then to the national Gondwana Children’s Choir. There is a similar pyramid for youth orchestras with the Australian Youth Orchestra at its tip. To participate in these peak ensembles is an achievement in itself, but for some it is also an important step towards a professional life as a musician – perhaps another pyramid.
  2. In the Discussion Paper, reference is made to the effectiveness of the model operating in sport, working through from childhood experiences in the local team through to the highest level of training and accomplishment. Much of this happens outside the formal education system under community auspices. Music does not lend itself quite so easily inasmuch as the competitive element is less to the fore (and most people in music think that is a good thing). Nevertheless, there are parallels – even as to competition, with high participation in such programs as the National (brass) Band Championships or the many eisteddfods. A study should be made to see what music and the arts can learn from those sports structures.
  3. The ‘musical activity for public dollar’ value of community music activities is beyond doubt, and a possible source of inspiration for more effective arts funding strategies at the local, regional and national level.
  4. For migrant communities, being able to participate with musical traditions from home is a vital part of settling into a new life. Encouraging cross cultural collaboration provides a pathway to a greater connection with other diverse communities and Australian society as a whole.

Local government has special responsibilities

  1. Every local and regional government should include a section on cultural development in its developmental plan. The plan should include strategies for investment in capital and operational costs of community arts development.
  2. Local government traditionally provides facilities for sports and libraries, and more recently in larger communities, museums, art galleries and performing arts centres. It often is a partner in provision of facilities for the regional conservatoria. Sometimes schools also are partners. Often, state governments assist financially. More rarely there is Commonwealth assistance through grants.
  3. Local government can be a natural resource for more informal spaces for workshops, education, rehearsals and performances.

Contribution to regional economies

  1. In regional areas, it is natural that most cultural activity is community based. Nevertheless, it can achieve very good artistic outcomes and can operate at an effective professional business level. It provides an economic base for professional artists and teachers and therefore can retain local practitioners and attract new residents who formerly would have found livings only in the cities.
  2. The arts are used successfully to revitalise derelict urban or regional neighbourhoods, as for instance in Newcastle at the moment.
  3. The availability of arts education and arts practice becomes a selling point for local authorities in attracting new investments and residents and in diversifying local economies.
  4. With the advent of the NBN, the local music organisations will have a further means of lifting performance and narrowing the cultural and economic gap between regions and cities.
  5. Local government can learn to utilise community arts practice as a lure to investment and population growth.


  1. The Commonwealth recognises the value of community music making and arts as a contributor to cultural skills, inclusion and cohesion, and in partnership with communities and other levels of government, supports its development.
  2. Art-making is central and support is focused there, but access to art for consumption is also included.
  3. The power of community arts making in addressing obstacles to social inclusion and cohesion is utilised through support from all levels of government to skilled, well-targeted community arts programs.
  4. All levels of government support the value of continuing cultural activity in economical and effective achievement of community music outcomes.
  5. Government recognises that community organisations that take broad responsibility for community music development cannot depend totally upon volunteers and need continuing funding and professional management.
  6. Support to community music schools or similar structures is provided by all levels of government. Community based education has the merit of diversity, flexibility and freedom from systemic inertia in providing education to meet local needs.
  7. Local government has special responsibilities, develops a cultural development plan, continues and expands its traditional role of providing physical facilities, and assists also with community organisations’ operational costs.
  8. As part of their cultural and overall planning, local governments engage in ‘cultural mapping’ to discover the location and range of musical (and other cultural) activity, the demographics and the needs of practitioners. The knowledge produced serves as a basis for planning, communications, skills development, networking and resource sharing.
  9. Local government develops strategies to attract new investment and increase population through publicising the local cultural provision.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. A rise in the status and visibility of community music making – an acceptance and understanding of the worth of community music and its intrinsic and extrinsic benefits at least to the level of current acceptance of junior and community sport. KPI: surveys of awareness and attitudes of population; trends.
  2. An increase in social inclusion and cohesion attributable to community music programs targeted to special populations. KPI: measure by surveys of behavior change by participants.
  3. More activity and greater capacity in the community music sector with increased musical competence in the general population. KPI: ABS measures of participation in music, trends.
  4. Key community music development organisations are supported to become increasingly effective instigators of broad development over time. KPI: Measure financial support from the three levels of government. Measure trends in outcomes, e.g. through ABS measures of participation in music.
  5. Evolution of community-based throughlines from grassroots programs through to national peak performing organisations, through which it is possible for individuals to progress to high level professional careers. These probably partner the formal education system for mutual benefit. Sport is examined as a possible model. KPI: identify and monitor existing and potential throughlines, developments, community/education system collaborations.
  6. New career pathways for community-based music animateurs – opportunities to be employed as a community music leader or mentor, with tertiary institutions offering appropriate training. If careers are available, there is considerable interest in offering the courses. KPI: number of courses, number of students, may be a good indicator of career opportunities. Number of relevant job advertisement.
  7. As communities enjoy greater opportunity for cross-cultural musical collaboration there is greater social cohesion, especially in newly arrived migrant and refugee communities. KPI: local government measures of social cohesion, correlated as possible with level of participation in relevant cultural programs.
  8. Expansion of music education programs in genres, styles and cultures that are not familiar to the incumbent music teacher(s). KPI: Local government lists such programs.
  9. Local governments assess their whole activity in this area, develop and implement cultural plans. KPI: local government documentation.
  10. There is increased investment and population in regional communities that are well served culturally. KPI: correlate investment and population trends with cultural provision, compare communities.


This section includes the following points:

  • The interest is not so much in ‘youth arts’ as in participation by youth in all arts
  • Relevant issues include arts education and skills development, innovation, equality of access, schemes to support emerging artists, the encouragement of digital music investment and innovation, all dealt with elsewhere in this submission
  • The Office of Youth said governments must stop talking to young people, and start engaging with young people
  • The MCA’s Australian Youth Music Council proposes in particular a small grants program for youth, demonstrated successfully by the now deceased Buzz program of the Australia Council

General discussion

  1. The Music Council of Australia has established the Australian Youth Music Council as an advisory body and also one which can undertake its own projects. This section of the submission draws heavily on that provided to Minister Garrett’s investigation in 2009, since the Youth Music Council does not wish to change the message. Some references from that period have aged a little but the content is still relevant.
  2. Members of the Music Council and the Youth Music Council are agreed that while there may be musical genres or activities of greater interest to youth, the interest is in the participation of youth in activities of every type.
  3. This philosophy holds for our submission for a national cultural policy. It assumes that youth has a role in all initiatives except those that are specifically directed to other populations such as the ageing.
  4. There are some issues that especially concern youth cultural participation. These include:
    • any issues concerning arts education and skills development, including innovation and arts education and equality of access (see relevant sections of this paper).
    • investment incentive schemes to support emerging artists
    • encouragement of digital music innovation and investment – not confined to youth but likely to have special relevance
  5. This section of the Music Council submission is guided by input from the Australian Youth Music Council. The AYMC writes:
  6. A scoping study, which was prepared for the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, found that Youth participation was identified as a top priority, and one that should continue to be so over the coming decades. 24>
  7. The Australian Government’s own Office for Youth set out Universality, Engagement and Inclusion as its three guiding principles. Its rationale for Engagement is that “in order to be effective, governments must stop talking to young people, and start engaging with young people. The Office for Youth respects and understands the value and contributions young people offer as citizens of today, not just the leaders of tomorrow.” 25
  8. Although most youth participation and involvement with government in the arts should probably come from the bottom up, it would be possible (and perhaps timely) for governments to initiate youth participation initiatives from the top down.
  9. In general the AYMC supports government involvement through:
    • Resourcing youth arts activity in the usual way (through education, arts practice etc)
    • Resourcing activities initiated by youth
    • Making information services and resources available to young artists and young people involved in the arts
    • Talking and listening to young people.
  10. In the matter of equity of access, please refer to the discussion in the education section about the great inequity of access to a school music education, correlating to level of affluence, which because of variability in skill level at high school graduation results in highly inequitable access to tertiary music and arts education.
  11. AYMC advocates support to a small grants program and to assisting young people to gain career and business management skills.
  12. Members of the AYMC note that professional management is rarely available to young people and that they must independently manage their affairs. Usually their formal career preparation has focused almost totally or exclusively on developing musical skills and they lack the management skills necessary to advance their careers.

Small grants program

  1. A small amount of money can go a long way with resourceful young people, focussed directly on projects and practical outcomes. Furthermore, young artists need practical experience in producing innovative projects (art exhibitions, recordings, tours, performance series, festivals, theatre productions, new media artworks etc) and this can be facilitated by governments and philanthropic funding programs. 26 In addition to the direct support, smaller grants can have big impacts on building business support for small artists – e.g. through more sophisticated website development, to assisting design and production budgets where none may exist.
  2. Innovation is common in youth arts practice. Young people involved in arts training of some description are generally engaged in heritage/historical/genre-based study, but it is inevitable and common that young people choose to and should be encouraged to innovate.
  3. Take as an example the Buzz Grants program, initiated by the Australia Council (2001 – 2006) and subsequently managed by the Foundation for Young Australians (2007 – 2008) but no longer running. Buzz was a small grants program which provided young artists (up to 25 years old) with experience in project management of practical arts activity, and in grant writing, managing and acquittal processes which are important in many arts disciplines. It was a flexible and practical opportunity for funding, which encouraged innovation and ownership, and delivered practical, educational and career benefits for the young artist and (in many cases) public outcomes. It gave encouragement to initiate projects, even when the funding application was unsuccessful.
  4. The last round of funding for Buzz Grants (in 2006) by the Australia Council distributed $50,000 to 20 applicants (all for Music). The Assessment Report states:

    The second round of Buzz for 2006 confirmed that interest remains high in this program for young artists and that the program continues to be increasingly competitive. Once again panel members commented on the high calibre of most applications received. This round the Music Board was pleased to support projects across the country, demonstrating range of musical styles including contemporary rock/pop, jazz classical music, and music theatre.

    Diverse musical outcomes supported include a contribution to a youth music event in the Northern Territory, recording projects including CD manufacture, advanced instrumental study overseas, mentorship programs, touring within Australia and other key developmental opportunities for emerging artists.27

  5. The Australia Council’s Artstart program is a welcome initiative, although it provides larger grants (projects up to $10,000, compared with a $2500 limit for Buzz Grants) from a similar pool of money. 28 The first ArtStart round in 2009 distributed $507,680 (Australia Council, 2009) to 53 successful applicants, six of them for Music ($56,450). The ArtStart program has a business model / career development focus which is more specific and may not allow, for example, innovative projects, tours, a debut album etc 29.
  6. There are small grants programs for young artists in some states. There is probably a bigger discrepancy in ‘youth small grants’ between jurisdictions than in most other areas of arts funding, and it should be reviewed – although the aim is not a single ‘small grants for young artists’ program or a model which applies to all states, territories, local government and the Commonwealth. The small grants program may be more suited to state than national government.
  7. It is understood that the Buzz program may have been dropped in part because of the cost of administration of that budget was large compared with the amount distributed. Another way of evaluating the concept is to compare the cost of the program with the value of its outcomes, since funds probably enabled a great deal more work than they paid for and equipped grantees with skills that they would use for the rest of their lives.
  8. It is proposed that the Commonwealth reconsiders the possibility of flexible small grants programs for young artists and looks at examples of youth arts activity (or the lack of) as a consequence of small grants programs in different states and territories. It could also consider additional sources of funds for the program and promote the concept to state and territory counterparts.
  9. The Music Council of Australia and the Australian Youth Music Council have jointly created a website to assist artists and managers with music career and business management: They have had no special financial assistance in creating this site. It could be improved were funds available.


  1. Government engages in two-way communication with young people
  2. It acknowledges and supports the engagement of youth in all arts activities, not only those conceived as ‘youth arts’.
  3. Government assists young people through a small grants program allowing them to mount projects in which they acquire management and business skills in the process of bringing their art to and audience.
  4. The grants program recognises and supports young people in their natural desire to innovate.
  5. The Commonwealth seeks broad involvement from its departments and from other levels of government in supporting small grants programs for youth.
  6. The small grants programs are assessed in terms of the outcomes produced by grantees as compared with the funds invested.
  7. Provide modest support for the Music Careers website.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in italics in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Stronger Commonwealth communication and involvement with youth in the arts sector, leading to better devised and implemented policy and support programs. KPI: document the initiatives, assess the outcome.
  2. Accelerated career advancement by young artists due to their increased entrepreneurial or management skills. KPI: Funding agencies are a possible source of information. Are they receiving more applications from younger applicants, showing and increase in entrepreneurial or management skills. Assess over time.
  3. More innovation by young people, both in their artistic output and their presentational initiatives. KPI: As with para 450, applied to artistic output and the nature of presentations.
  4. Better support through more lively presentation and complete information from the Music Career website. KPI: financial support to the site; measure traffic to the site, observe trends.


  1. (Supported by the right to participate in one’s own culture and the culture of others, along with other UN rights.)

This section includes the following points:

  • The arts of immigrant Australians have received only tepid support
  • This is one of our greatest lost opportunities
  • They present a diversity which could contribute to a powerhouse of cultural innovation
  • Policies should support both heritage and innovation
  • For immigrant peoples, the right to participate in one’s own culture takes in the cultures of their old and their new homes
  • School education should impart a familiarity with the diversity of cultures present in Australia
  • Diversity can flow from innovation.
  • Diversity can flow from the development of regional artistic voices.
  • Australia can become an important world source of ethnically based innovative music.

Definition of “cultural diversity”

  1. Culture can be expressed through various and diverse forms, e.g. poetry, film, painting, music etc. Diversity can be seen in cultural expression of different geographical areas, whether they are rural regions, states or countries. Diversity can be a consequence of differing religions, ethnicities or other sub-cultural groupings, whether inside or outside Australia. Diversity arises from the creative expression of individual artists or groups of artists, and so is encouraged by artistic freedom. Cultural diversity may exist as between countries, and within countries.

Ethnic diversity in Australia

  1. Australia has within it representatives of a multitude of cultures, including those of the Indigenous Australians and cultures brought here by immigrants, both the earlier, now ‘mainstream’ immigrants and more recent non-Anglo people.

Indigenous arts

  1. In recent decades, the arts of the Indigenous Australians have had a very significant impact, despite their general oppression. In part, this is the consequence of national cultural policies, confirmed and expanded by the present government. See Indigenous section.

Immigrant arts and innovation

  1. There has been no equivalent support to the cultures of recent immigrants despite a long-standing but weakly implemented official policy of multiculturalism.
  2. This is one of Australia’s greatest missed opportunities.
  3. There is an abundance of cultural expressions in an immigrant population that is largely left to fend for itself. Some immigrant artists simply abandon their practice. Others continue, perhaps for an audience within their own communities. The potential for bringing these cultures to the larger community is barely explored, notwithstanding a scatter of important projects.
  4. The lack of contact beyond their own communities and even, in many cases, with the younger generation within those communities, can lead to ossification of the arts practice. This could be addressed to some extent if there was cultural contact between the members of particular ethnicities resident in different centres across the country but that does not much happen either.
  5. If the government is to extend its emphasis on innovation in the arts, one of the greatest stimuli is the juxtaposition of sufficiently similar/dissimilar arts genres (see above, innovation and complex adaptive systems). Examples are the hybrids of various forms of ethnic musics with each other or with more mainstream genres. There is a world wide audience/market for such music, called ‘world music’. There has been a slow evolution of activity in Australia through e.g. festivals and the recently established world music convention in Melbourne. There are some strikingly successful music ensembles. But compared to its potential, Australia is hardly a player. It should be a leader.
  6. As with other areas of the arts, innovation and heritage are hand in hand (see earlier section of this paper). A multicultural policy in the arts should support both maintenance of the heritage, and innovation. Australia could be a major presenter both of traditions and innovations.

A cultural right

  1. There are other ramifications of a multicultural policy. One that follows from the previous point: The right to participate in one’s own culture applies, for immigrant people, both to the culture they grew up with and the culture of their new country.

Education in diversity

  1. Arts education for children should give a deep and thorough experience in some particular genres but also a more general familiarity with the diversity of cultures, not least the cultures around them. There is great potential here for utilising the musics of different cultures to assist in student retention of geographical, historical and anthropological information.

Diversity from the regions

  1. The arts can give expression to differences of regional identity. Diversity will grow if the regions are supported in making art as well as consuming it.

Diversity from innovation more generally

  1. Artistic innovation of its nature builds diversity. Innovative work is significantly different from what preceded it. Lots of innovation means lots of difference means diversity. Contemporary innovative collaboration often brings with it diverse cultural juxtapositions, where cultures collide in insightful ways.

Diversity, social inclusion and social cohesion

  1. The makers of diverse art can be encouraged or supported on their own ground: the Thais in the Thai communities. They can be included in the wider community: the Thais presenting to non-Thais (as broadly as possible). Cohesion can be built with an exchange among communities: the Thais both give and receive culture.

International undertaking

  1. Australia is a signatory to the UNESCO Convention for (cultural diversity). It is thereby encouraged, though not obliged, to protect and promote cultural diversity within its own borders, among other things. Other aspects to Australia’s participation in this Convention are mentioned in the international section, below.


  1. To encourage the survival of traditional cultural expressions, assist in their practice within their communities and the creation of new forums for their presentation to a broader audience. The practitioners may seek a sense of acceptance and belonging in the larger community.
  2. It is not uncommon for the artists making these presentations, for instance at community festivals, to arrive, perform and leave without showing any interest in the performances from other traditions. To build social cohesion as well as inclusion, invoke strategies to encourage a cultural exchange.
  3. Devise and implement strategies to value and reward artistic developments within the precepts of traditional culture.
  4. Devise and implement strategies to value and reward innovation in creating successful hybrid forms, combining ethnic forms with each other or with non-ethnic forms, or non-ethnic forms with each other. This requires not only financial support to events but funds to support artistic development over time.
  5. The strategies suggested above could be implemented through festivals, showcases, individual performances or performance tours, establishment of venues which regularly present this work, international touring of suitable work, production of recordings, videos or films and their presentation on the internet, television or cinemas; and could be supplemented by studies and by continuing policy development and implementation. Local practice could be stimulated by Australian performances by foreign artists.
  6. Regarding the presentation of live performances of ethnically based music, the activity is largely at community level or small and financially marginal venues. Strategies are needed to present some performances in high status venues for large audiences. This will give the music higher status in the community and encourage more, and more serious and committed creation and production.
  7. Support innovation for its contribution to diversity, as well as for other reasons given in the recommendations of the Innovation section above.
  8. Support arts practice in the regions and its promotion to a national audience. See ????????? section.
  9. Include diverse artistic genres and information about their origins in the school curricula. See the school education section.
  10. Australia should develop strategies to become an important exporter of ethnically based music – probably not so much the heritage as the experimental, hybrid work.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Much more artistic activity in the ethnic communities, especially by providing public fora for their own projects. KPI: The activity is very independent so there is a question about how to collect the information. Perhaps find the number of events through local councils.
  2. Wider interest in and acceptance of ethnic and other diverse musics especially if funding is provided to enable access to high quality artists. KPI: Add audience numbers for KPI 478.
  3. A great increase in the scale and vitality of musical innovation and diversity, including cross-cultural collaboration. KPI: possibly this data could be provided by funding bodies, recognising that their information comes mostly from professionals and so may exclude much community activity.
  4. Artistic vitalisation of the regions and the development of distinct regional artistic voices. KPI: The data collected by local councils can be aggregated by regions, trends followed. Emergence of distinct regional voices is a long-term outcome; could be identified by expert peers.
  5. More financial viability for these activities. KPI: these are the sort of data that could be achieved through the proposed data collection activities. See para 719.
  6. School children with more knowledge and appreciation of diverse arts and a broader, more intuitive understanding of other curricular areas, informed by their interface with the cultural diversity of music. KPI: education systems test for these outcomes.
  7. A much enhanced Australian reputation for the production of innovative and diverse arts and an increase in the export income derived from them. KPI: export sales for these arts. Would require continuation of current data collection, with addition of relevant categories of information.


  1. (Supported by the right to participate in one’s own culture and the culture of others, along with other UN rights.)

This section includes the following points:

  • We are privileged to have among us the original inhabitants of this land
  • We have two responsibilities: to listen and understand, and to exchange and support
  • Support goes to Indigenous arts and to Indigenous artists practising in any art form or genre
  • Support to the musical traditions is urgently needed, including by collecting and archiving them against the passing of the last cultural bearers
  • National Indigenous Television should be supported to become a genuine national public broadcaster with adequate funds to initiate and commission new works
  • Continuing effort should be given to solving the complexities of cultural ownership such as community copyright
  • Strategies are needed to develop commercial opportunities and management for Indigenous musicians, including touring and international opportunities
  1. (This section of the submission includes extensive information and opinion received from the Australasian Performing Right Association, a Music Council member, which has programs directed to Indigenous music. The Music Council is establishing an Indigenous Music Advisory Group but its advice will not be available until some time in 2012.)

Our responsibilities

  1. We in Australia know the great privilege of having among us the original inhabitants of this land. They bring to us the oldest continuous cultures on earth, cultures that are traditionally an expression of a relationship where people and land are one. Most of us can barely imagine such a world view. Indigenous Australians offer us an opportunity that we are very slow to take up.
  2. We have two responsibilities: to listen and understand, and to exchange and support. It is through Indigenous cultural expressions that we have the easiest access to understanding. Our governments assist in bringing these to the entire population. They should also ensure that our children discover them from an early age.
  3. Having taken their country, we offer in exchange a modicum of support. In the cultural area, the support has had outcomes far beyond anticipation. It might be the one area in which government intervention has had overwhelmingly positive results.
  4. The Music Council notes the present Minister’s active interest in supporting Indigenous arts activity, including in contemporary music.
  5. In considering support policy, a distinction should be made between Indigenous arts and Indigenous artists, who may practise in any artform or genre. Support should go to both.

Urgent: support to traditional arts

  1. For Australian Indigenous communities, music is more than an art form. It also serves to renew or teach law and culture as well as playing a pivotal role in ceremony/storytelling and preserving language. Indigenous music is an important tool in sharing culture and educating the world about these communities.
  2. Attention to Indigenous Australian traditional arts is a matter of urgency. The last carriers of some traditions are in old age and will pass on. The traditions must be captured as fully as possible and archived. The archives must be available to Indigenous community members. This will make revitalisation possible should the current or future generations desire it. The interest of the current generation should not necessarily be the deciding factor in such collection efforts. Even if it lacks interest, its children may have a different view.
  3. The Music Council is especially interested in the National Recording Project for Indigenous Performance in Australia30. This project has assisted communities to record and control the use of their endangered song cycles. Each community is free to control and implement their own approaches and requirements in managing their ‘traditional cultural expressions’ (TCEs).

The complexities of cultural ownership

  1. The Music Council supports the development and implementation of policies that assist Indigenous creators and communities in owning and controlling their cultural property – they are the guardians and interpreters of their own culture. The protection of TK and TCEs is studied in detail at the international level by the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources Traditional Knowledge and Folklore of WIPO. The study by the Indigenous lawyer Terri Janke Our Culture, Our Future31 recommended the elaboration of cultural protocols to govern the use of TCEs in line with expectations of communities and to foster understanding and respect towards them.
  2. In a paper published in 2009, Beyond Guarding Ground,32 there is a call for the creation of a National Indigenous Cultural Authority (NICA). NICA could exert Indigenous control of their cultural resources, benefit sharing and the facilitation of obtaining prior informed consent for the use of TCEs. Such a body could work with existing collecting societies and advise on questions of provenance, compliance with protocols, dispute resolution and to assist communities and creators in claims of moral rights abuses. NICA could also serve to provide input from communities in policy setting at the WIPO level.
  3. More generally, there are special problems around copyright. Indigenous Australians in theory enjoy the moral rights afforded to all others, but in practice there are problems of attribution and integrity.

Commercial opportunities for Indigenous musicians

  1. Opportunities for Indigenous artists to obtain performance experience in live music venues are very limited. In regional Australia, clubs and hotels provide the primary live music venues and there is a cultural gap to be bridged between many venues and Indigenous artists and audiences. APRA, together with other industry groups, proposes an Unearthed or Battle of the Bands styled series. Venues might be utilised during non-peak periods and in alcohol free mode, along the lines of the Blue Light Disco model. The series could be piloted in Darwin and then expanded to include major regional towns.
  2. Often mainstream Australia and the arts world only give validity to the works that come from remote areas with a traditional element, and not to the Indigenous people who live in the cities. Urban Indigenous communities also experience challenges and disadvantage and therefore urban musicians need to be taken into consideration in policy.  Urban Indigenous art and culture is valuable and important. Commercial opportunities should be made available for urban Indigenous musicians who also struggle to make their careers commercially viable. It is important to remember that artists such as Dan Sultan and Casey Donovan are Indigenous artists just like Gurrumul. (Jessie Lloyd)
  3. If the microfinance / venture capital scheme for investment in music artists and recordings as proposed in para 238 is set up, efforts should be made to include production of Indigenous recordings.

Management education

  1. As with the music sector generally, there is an identified need to provide Indigenous people with skills training in music management. The opportunities should extend both to Indigenous musicians and managers/administrators. Supporting jobs in music management for Indigenous people empowers communities to create viable industries locally, and will increase the likelihood of Indigenous musicians and administrators partaking in the wider industry. Investment in opportunities for artists and creators need to be balanced with investments in enterprise development, providing a suitable business framework for long-term sustainability.

Remote Music Touring

  1. Given the geographical isolation of many Indigenous communities, the development infrastructure to support music touring in remote communities would be especially productive. Music is a significant contributor to community harmony, cultural maintenance, and in providing additional income streams to Indigenous songwriters and composers. The lack of music touring infrastructure in remote communities – including central Australia, north-east Arnhem Land, the Kimberley region of West Australia, and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands of the northern part of South Australia – acts to stifle music creation, meaningful engagement with the commercial music industry, and income streams that flow from copyright royalties. There is an opportunity to develop performing pathways based on the existing framework available via community festivals, regional festivals and national events.

International Development for Indigenous Musicians

  1. There are opportunities to organise performances for Indigenous artists at international conferences. Assisting Indigenous artists in attending and participating in international events will focus and develop their international profile.

Further needs and opportunities

  1. Further needs and opportunities revealed by APRA’s Song Cycles research project. APRA supports opportunities to investigate the potential benefits of traditional and non-traditional indigenous music programs in addressing issues of isolation, self-esteem, inclusiveness, skills development, self-expression and employment. APRA’s Song Cycles research of 2010 highlighted amongst other things, basic rights issues and social disadvantage in the lives of Indigenous music artists.
  2. “APRA believes policy and strategic decisions should focus on the following outcomes, as also expressed in the Indigenous Contemporary Music Action Plan 200833:
    • Respect for Indigenous music and music creators
    • Creating an environment that fosters cultural and artistic development
    • Economic benefit by way of fair compensation to composers, songwriters, musicians and their communities for the use of creative works
    • More reasonable access to funding programs
    • Improved access to mainstream markets
    • A festival network that builds on the existing infrastructure provided by community, regional and national festivals to provide a performing pathway for artists.
    • Creation of opportunities for creative and professional development
    • Creation of opportunities for enterprise development which would provide a business framework to support creative activities
    • Vehicles to promote musical works to a wider audience
    • Sustainability.
  3. “There is an opportunity for education and reconciliation in the process of commercialising both traditional and contemporary Indigenous music.”
  4. It should be acknowledged that in Indigenous contemporary music there are already great successes, an evolving competence in building and managing careers, and the music is reaching ever larger audiences in Australia and now abroad.
  5. ATSI Music Office. Following upon Song Cycles, APRA with Federal support has established the ATSI Music Office. It will “provide a mechanism to drive strategic response, providing a holistic approach on behalf of Government and industry to support ATSI artists.  Further the ATSI Music Office will provide coordinated and centralised support to assist career songwriters & artists by driving initiatives with key music industry stakeholders in order to overcome barriers, address the engagement gap and increase market penetration.  Collectively, addressing those issues will assist to drive economic return for artists via performance fees and royalty returns, thereby providing a sound basis for sustainability.” It thus addresses many of the issues raised previously.


  1. Accelerate programs to collect and archive traditional music and arts before the last bearers pass away.
  2. Continue to work to solve issues of cultural ownership.
  3. Implement a range of strategies to build commercial opportunities for Indigenous musicians.
  4. Support successful operation of the ATSI Music Office.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Availability of recordings and documentation of all extant musical traditions to present and future generations. KPI: expert assessment of the gaps in collections; assessment of the adequacy of the provisions for making them available to their communities.
  2. Increased knowledge and practice of the traditions. KPI: evaluation by relevant academic institutions, relevant communities.
  3. Cultural ownership matters having been resolved in principle, effective Indigenous management is established to ensure moral and financial benefit to Indigenous community and individual owners. KPI: expert assessment of the quality of Indigenous management.
  4. Indigenous contemporary musicians, musically skilled and served by effective management, are artistically and financially successful within Australia and internationally. KPI: value of domestic and export sales.
  5. Successful operation of ATSI Music Office. KPI: Measures, trends of financial outcomes for office and artists.


  1. (Supported by the right to participate in one’s own culture and the culture of others, along with other UN rights.)

This section includes the following points:

  • For more social inclusion and cohesion, foster literacy in English as the dominant language
  • Support the survival of indigenous languages where this is the wish of their people
  • The languages of immigrants are a resource to Australia; support their survival
  • Encourage study of the languages of our region in school.
  1. Languages embody cultures and thus, ways of thinking and creating, cultural artefacts and histories, and the means of communicating them.

Sharing the majority language

  1. We share almost universally through the use of English, Australia’s official language and the nearest thing currently to a lingua franca in the world. It is important to a cultural policy that it fosters literacy in and expression and communication through English.

Indigenous Australian languages

  1. Of the 273 languages known to have been spoken at the time of white settlement, 111 are extinct. Of the 162 living languages, 111 are considered nearly extinct, spoken by only a handful of people. Obviously, along with loss of language goes loss of music heritage. For a complete list of the 273 languages and their status, see Endangered Language Initiative see A quotation from that source:

    “People from other cultures are also impoverished when any language dies. The history tied up in a language will go unrecorded; the poetry and rhythm of a singular tongue will be silenced forever. The scientific search for Universal Grammar, the common starting point for all grammars that human children seem to be born with, depends on our knowing what all human languages have in common. The wholesale loss of languages that we face today will greatly restrict how much we can learn about human cognition, language, and language acquisition at a time when the achievements in these arenas have been greater than ever before.”

  2. If a language has no utility to its own people, it will not survive, but for marginal languages, assistance can be given to their survival through archiving and better, revitalisation. The arts can be a valuable tool. For instance, there are projects which encourage the use of Indigenous language in hip hop, so making them newly relevant to young people.

Immigrant languages

  1. The languages of immigrant groups support cultural diversity in Australia and could facilitate our cultural and commercial links with the rest of the world. Their survival could be encouraged through a cultural diversity policy.

The languages of our region

  1. The number of school students studying the languages of our major trading partners in the regions is falling. Therefore, study of the cultures is also falling. This is very poor, strategically.


  1. Ensure that liberal opportunities are provided for immigrants to become proficient in English.
  2. Support strategies to assist retention of indigenous languages. One successful initiative known to the Music Council is the conduct of hip hop workshops for young people in the indigenous language of a remote Central Australian community. The Gurrumul example could be used also as motivation. See the Indigenous section.
  3. Develop strategies to utilise immigrants’ knowledge of other languages to enrich Australia’s domestic and international cultural and communications. As with Indigenous language, the retention of immigrants’ languages will be encouraged by their use in arts production.
  4. Develop strategies to increase the number of school students learning other languages, especially those of our region.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Increased inclusion of Immigrants in Australian life and the economy, more social cohesion. KPI: measures of e.g. income of immigrants, measures of social cohesion, correlated to measures of English literacy.
  2. Greater survival of aspects of traditional Indigenous cultures. KPI: measures of knowledge of own languages by Indigenous people.
  3. Australian culture and commerce is more effective in the international arena. KPI: attempt to measure correlation between bilingualism and commercial outcomes.


  1. (Supported by the right to just remuneration and moral rights, among others.)

This section includes the following points:

  • An important practical distinction is made between industry support and cultural subsidy; contrasting expectations follow
  • Government should fund for success, not survival. Australia should be the model for daring cultural enterprise
  • Infrastructure funding needs to be steady and continuous, cf project funding
  • There are many opportunities for cultural funding across government
  • Funding assignments among the different levels of government should not be rigid but they should consult with each other
  • The arm’s length principle is important above all as a defence of freedom of expression
  • Government failure to provide untied funding to the Australia Council weakens the core business of the arts sector. Core funding is always a priority
  • A small investment in the policy activities of the Australia Council boards would bring disproportionate benefit
  • The practice of giving leadership of the Australia Council to business people should be reviewed
  • Various regulatory issues are mentioned but are dealt with in other section of the submission.
  1. Industry support vs cultural subsidy. It is important to distinguish between the two. Industry support in the arts can be provided to lift an artist or arts company towards financial self-reliance or profit. The main criterion for award of industry assistance is commercial promise. If the assistance is successful and the recipient becomes profitable, there is no further need for government support; if it is not successful within a reasonable period, it may be that further support is not justified.
  2. Cultural subsidy assists the production of art judged to be of high artistic value, which otherwise could not be produced because it cannot achieve financial break-even through market forces alone. Success is measured primarily through the artistic achievement, although competent management is also expected. Contrary to the situation with industry support, success heightens the probability of subsequent funding.
  3. As with everything else in the real world, there are grey areas. Work supported by cultural subsidy may become financially viable, although that is unlikely in the case of, for instance, opera.
  4. A value judgement that operatic performances should be available to Australian artists and audiences will be followed by a realisation that in 21C circumstances, opera cannot meet its costs from earnings. Subsidy will make opera production possible. If the productions are artistically successful, there are good audiences, management is competent, then success this year will, under the same rules, justify subsidy next year. Other examples are found, for instance, in innovative art where costs may be relatively modest but the appeal is only to small and specialised audiences (although the eventual impact may be much wider).
  5. In assessing the merit of cultural activity for industry assistance, consideration of its cultural value is entirely optional. The probability of commercial success may be to a degree independent of cultural value (some lack of quality balanced by ingenious marketing) and in any case, could be deemed to be so. On the other hand, there could be a decision that as a matter of policy, industry assistance will be given only to activities that have both commercial promise and cultural value. (Decisions about what has cultural value may appear difficult but they are an inescapable continuing task of subsidising bodies.)
  6. In the widening enthusiasm for arts-as-business, we have occasionally found funding bodies and governments urging financial self-reliance upon the recipients of cultural subsidy when the nature of their work gives them little hope of achieving it. This invites frustration and disappointment on both sides.
  7. Funding for success. Because the total quantum of cultural subsidy is small compared to need and demand, generally speaking projects and organisations are funded to survive rather than to succeed. A corollary is that they are funded to be cautious rather than to risk.
  8. European countries support success and risk-taking. This is one reason, exceptions notwithstanding, that Australia tends to follow rather than lead. We are a young country. We should be the model for daring cultural enterprise…
  9. Innovative projects. It was observed above that innovation carries financial risk and that this should be recognised by government funding bodies. There can be a wish but not an expectation for success. Invocations to financial self-reliance are often misplaced. (Please see the Innovation section above.)
  10. Funding of infrastructure. Infrastructure funding for arts and culture needs permanency and sustainability by comparison with, say, funding for innovation, which can be short term and one-off. All the more reason why funded infrastructure should be assessed for performance and quality assurance, but it needs a different funding model. (See discussion of infrastructure below.)
  11. It should be noted that core funding to infrastructure organisations sets the basis for innovations that might not otherwise emerge. For example, because its basis functions were supported, the Music Council has been able to establish many programs that otherwise would not have even been conceived. Example: its Music: Count Us In program, which now has over 500,000 school students singing a specially composed song, simultaneously, across the nation, in order to drive home the benefits of school music education.
  12. Whole of government support to culture. The Discussion Paper implicitly recognises that if a cultural policy is based upon a broad definition of culture, it can be implemented only with the involvement of the whole of the government. The Paper lists many opportunities for collaborations beyond the arts portfolio. These would have the merit of increasing the range of government stake-holders in culture as well as unlocking additional resources from ministries that in almost all cases are better funded than the Arts Ministry. (This paragraph is included mainly to complete the picture!)
  13. Relationship of Commonwealth and State funding policies. Every so often, there is a cry for coordination of policies. This would have the merits of bureaucratic tidiness and relief for those requesting or acquitting funding from reporting differently to each level of government. Coordination of such matters as budget format is to be recommended. Also, there is value in some instances in an agreed shared responsibility for support to particular organisations, especially those which do have an ongoing existence and serve both national and state objectives, such as the major performing arts companies.
  14. There are two arguments against too great a commitment to coordination. Firstly, national, state and indeed, local objectives are rightly different and this will be reflected in their funding policies. Secondly, however systematic and objective decision-making processes for funding may be, inevitably they involve a large measure of subjectivity. Each of these factors may result in different decisions by different levels of government. Artists have more opportunities for support if they can approach a number of uncoordinated sources. The outcome will be a greater diversity of voices and thereby a more vigorous arts scene. (See complex adaptive systems, diversity, innovation…)

The Australia Council

  1. The Australia Council and the arm’s length principle. The Council is an independent statutory authority at arm’s length from government. This once meant that it was independent in matters of both policy and funding. The principle currently is interpreted as meaning that the Commonwealth can instruct the Australia Council in matters of policy but may not intervene in the assignment of grant funds under these policies.
  2. There is broad agreement among the peak arts organisations that the effect of the arm’s length principle in inhibiting political censorship of the arts is extremely important and must be maintained.
  3. The arm’s length principle also works for governments politically. Inevitably, there are arts funding decisions that are genuinely contentious or are subjected to gratuitous ridicule by the media. This is the more likely if there is a policy to support innovation. It can serve the Minister and the government well to be at a remove from the funding decisions.
  4. The Australia Council and core funding. Additional funds to the Australia Council are usually tagged for support to new government policy initiatives. This is satisfying to a government which can point to specific developments that it has caused. However, it appears that these initiatives often are paid for by a transfer from the core ‘discretionary’ funding which supports the ongoing arts infrastructure. This progressively weakens the sector.
  5. The Boards of the Australia Council and policy-making. There is an impression in the arts community that the Boards, which decide on allocation of grant funds, are not sufficiently supported in developing the policies that guide those decisions. Modest additional expenditure could be an effective investment.
  6. The Australia Council and whole-of-government. The Council has been criticised by some journalists, basically because it does not operate beyond its brief and does not intervene in various matters under other auspices. The journalists’ view seems to be therefore to terminate the Australia Council.
  7. The Discussion Paper makes it clear that it is planned to harness those other auspices – other Commonwealth ministries and departments – to utilise and thereby in a sense, support the arts. It does not follow that the Australia Council has outlived its usefulness but it may suggest some revision of its range of responsibilities.
  8. The Australian Council and Canberra. Historically, there has been some dissonance between the Australia Council and its supervisory department in Canberra, currently the Office of the Arts. Depending on the spirit, this may not be a bad thing. The processes are not visible to outsiders and outcomes are unknown.
  9. Although the Australia Council is defined as the government’s funding and advisory body, it is the Minister and his staff that is taking responsibility for development of this National Cultural Policy. There are great advantages in having a senior minister take responsibility for the policy. On the other hand, there are grants programs operated by the Office of the Arts that use procedures that are not well known and because decisions are not made by the arm’s-length statutory authority, put the Minister in the line of fire for those who object to them. There is a strong argument that there is a very useful nexus between funding decisions and policy making; the two inform each other and can be combined in the Australia Council. So where should policy making responsibilities lie? It seems to us that some regular process of discussion of the merits might be helpful.

Taxation and Regulation

  1. We list issues, most of which are treated elsewhere in the submission.
  2. The Productivity Commission’s review of the non-profit sector. The report made some recommendations that could assist the cultural sector: e.g. the harmonisation of state requirements for registration as a charity, so that a successful application to one state would permit registration in all states.
  3. Regulation and cultural sovereignty. The right of Australian governments to regulate in support of the cultural sector can be challenged under free trade agreements. This is discussed in the international section below.
  4. Local content requirements in electronic media. The Australian contemporary music industry was of inconsequential size until local content requirements were introduced for commercial radio. Then it burgeoned. Licensing of foreign, especially US, television productions cost Australian television broadcasters a fraction of the investment required for local productions. Local content quotas ensure that there is local production to tell Australian stories to Australian audiences.
  5. With the fracturing of mass media through digital multichannelling and various forms of online offerings, the sharing of these stories through a small number of analogue free to air broadcasters is dissipated. To add to the injury, no Australian content is required on most additional channels under multichannelling initiatives. This may serve the interests of the broadcasters but it does not serve the interests of the culture.
  6. In recent weeks, the flag is up the pole to test the idea that content quotas should be disbanded. We consider this proposal with some dismay, given history and circumstance.
  7. Copyright. The government has the major responsibility for legislating and regulating copyright in a time of disruption to traditional copyright regimes.

Expert assistance to the field

  1. The Australia Council research program provides valuable information to the field.
  2. The Music Council confirms the value to artists of the legal and copyright services provided by the Arts Law organisation and the Australian Copyright Council and funded by governments and recommends continued support.


  1. In funding agency practice, distinguish between industry support and cultural subsidy and align expectations accordingly.
  2. If the expectation is artistic vibrancy and innovation, fund for risk-taking, and for success rather than survival.
  3. Give ongoing funding for ongoing infrastructure, subject to performance assessments.
  4. Approach coordination of national and state funding with caution. Optimise application and reporting procedures but allow for different objectives and different artistic assessments that result in artistic diversity and a more vigorous arts scene.
  5. Retain the arm’s length principle as a foundation stone for the Australia Council.
  6. Increase untied funds to the Australia Council to support it in funding the core activities of its clients, including the generation of additional project funds from other sources. The Australia Council is a rare source of such funds.
  7. Provide more support to the Boards of the Australia Council to buy time for policy making.
  8. Establish a continuing negotiation of the assignment of policy and funding responsibilities between the Canberra bureaucracy and the Australia Council.
  9. Review the practice of placing the Australia Council leadership in the hands of business people.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Increasingly well informed policy and funding processes, taking into account the varying circumstances and needs for support to innovation, infrastructure, joint funding. KPI: assess policies according to those variables.
  2. KPI: Funding bodies know when they are offering cultural subsidy and when they are offering industry assistance and adjust their criteria and expectations accordingly.
  3. Funded arts organisations can afford to pursue excellence and innovation. KPI: Survey arts organisations’ opinions, programs.
  4. KPI: There is purposeful retention of the arm’s length principle and its extension to all arts funding under Commonwealth auspices.
  5. The Australia Council is provided with untied funds from which it will be able to support the core costs of arts organisations, especially SMEs. KPI: trend in provision of untied funds to the Australia Council; assessment of the nature of its funding to SMEs.
  6. There is possibly a redefinition of the Australia Council’s role in a new situation in which arts funding is sourced across many government departments. KPI: change in Australia Council role in this respect.
  7. There is intelligent differentiation of the roles of the Commonwealth arts bureaucracy in Canberra and the Australia Council. KPI: publication of clarification.
  8. National service providers in the area of copyright and legal issues continue to operate effectively. KPI: Australia Council evaluation of organisations.


  1. The creative industries definition from the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), widely used, is: ‘Those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.’
  2. Generally when music is discussed as a creative industry the focus is upon its economic contribution. However, the Creative Economy Report 2008 (published as a collaboration between the UN Conference on Trade and Development, UN Development Programme, UNESCO, WIPO and ITC) proposes that the creative economy is not one-dimensionally about economic issues.From the Executive Summary:

    Cross-cutting linkages

    The “creative economy” is a multidimensional concept with linkages to a number of different sectors in the overall economy. Different approaches to analysing the creative economy lead to different emphases on its various aspects. For example, a sociological approach has examined the notion of a “creative class” in society, comprising professional, scientific and artistic workers whose presence generates economic, social and cultural dynamism. Other approaches have stressed the role of culture in terms of social empowerment. Even beyond urban planning circles, the concept of the “creative city” has become established, while geographers focus on the locational aspects of creative activity in the form of creative clusters, networks and districts. The multifaceted nature of the creative economy means that it cuts across a wide range of areas of economic and social policy in addition to any intrinsic value. Thus policy-making in relation to the creative economy is not confined to a single ministry or government department; rather, it is likely to implicate a number of different policy fields, including:

    • economic development and regional growth;
    • urban planning;
    • international trade;
    • labour and industrial relations;
    • migration;
    • domestic and foreign investment;
    • technology and communications;
    • art and culture;
    • tourism;
    • social welfare; and
    • education.
  3. Music is a major contributor to the creative industries by whatever definition is used. In this cultural policy, focused especially on the arts as instrumental in achieving non-arts objectives, the emphasis is on their contribution to the economy, employment, creation and utilisation of new technologies.
  4. Instrumental and intrinsic values are interdependent. At this point it should be reiterated that so far as the instrumental value of music’s contribution is concerned, success will be served by commitment to the intrinsic values that produce high quality music. Music of quality that is capable of drawing a substantial audience is a better prospect for success than mediocre music.
  5. Not all music is well suited to economic exploitation through the creative industries. Although the industries themselves are committed to innovation, much innovative music draws only a small audience and so does not immediately hold promise of financial profit.
  6. Value of the music sector: $7 billion. The sector is a serious contributor to GDP. The Music Council’s economist member, Hans Hoegh-Guldberg, estimates the value-added contribution at AU$7 billion. 34 This can only be an estimate because of the inadequate data available. The music sector is treated as a ‘satellite account’, similar to the tourist industry.
  7. The urgent need for statistics. Music sector statistics are fragmentary with major omissions. Neither government nor sector has a basis for policy or business planning without adequate, up to date statistics. In various sector meetings called by the Music Council over the years, the collection of statistics is always identified as an urgent need. For the Cultural Ministers’ Council, the Music Council developed a statistical framework for the music sector 35 but there was no government follow-through in populating the framework. The framework now needs some updating to take account of developments in the digital area, but gives a clear basis for the work. See the section ‘Provide Information That Supports Cultural Development.’
  8. Every part of the music sector contributes to the creative industries. The Music Council sees the music sector, for all its divisions, as a set of interdependencies. We suggest that this also is the appropriate position in developing a national cultural policy – which of course also looks at the interdependencies across the arts sector and between the arts sector and the rest of society.
  9. Therefore, although the emphasis may be on financial contribution, and some activities are more profitable than others and some are not financially profitable at all, all are contributing to employment and economic activity – and to societal development which, at a remove, returns gain to the economy.

Live music

  1. It all starts with live music. In some subsectors of music, the weight has always been with live performance while for others financial gain was greatest from recordings marketed to a global audience. With the major contraction of the record industry and the great difficulty in securing substantial income from its digital successor, a lot of emphasis has returned to the live industry. Live performance used to sell recordings; now recordings promote live performances.
  2. Live music from the non-profit sector. It should be noted that ‘non-profit’ and ‘subsidised’ are not coterminous. Non-profit activity may contribute to the economy without government assistance.
  3. Generally speaking, if music locates itself in the non-profit sector it is because for one reason or another if faces market failure, even if of the highest quality. The revenue from box office is not sufficient to cover the costs of production, marketing, management if any, and presentation. It therefore often depends upon subsidy, whether that comes from cash grants or volunteer efforts by those concerned (often the artists).
  4. The Discussion Paper places an emphasis upon innovation. Musical innovation is likely to be unprofitable, whether or not structurally non-profit. It depends on a small, committed audience, often not large enough or affluent enough to cover costs. As we read it, the policy places special value on innovate contributions from culture to the creative industries.
  5. The largest employers in the music industry are the opera companies and the large orchestras. They are 19C structures, labour-intensive, operating within the economics of the 21C and their costs cannot be recovered from earned income. Survival requires subsidy. However, they do contribute substantially to employment, the economy, and to cultural production and quality. They are discussed elsewhere in the submission.
  6. Presenting organisations and performers in the non-profit sector increasingly utilise the technological advances offered by other partners in the creative industries, beginning from artistic creation and working down the value chain to the final interface with audiences.
  7. Live music from the profit sector. This includes an enormous variety of activity attracting 80% or more of the Australian audience. It includes performances in arenas and other large spaces, hotels, clubs, restaurants, festivals as well as live performance tours.
  8. By far the greatest number of events present Australian artists. The most lucrative are mostly of touring high profile foreign artists.
  9. Most of this activity is unsubsidised, with the exception of some top-line city festivals.
  10. Achieve best practice regulation of licensed venues by each state and territory government, minimising obstacles to the presentation of live music. MCA research papers by John Wardle and Lynn Gailey have provided information about current regulations. Further work on the Gailey paper will lead to proposals for best practice and appropriate strategies for advocacy. The Cultural Ministers’ Council has engaged with the issue on the basis of the Wardle paper which, however, was not worked through with regard to best practice.
  11. To promote the findings and to follow through on action goes beyond advocacy. Therefore, the Music Council supports the APRA proposal to government for a National Live Music Coordinator who can give continuing assistance for implementation.

Recorded Australian music

  1. Recorded music enables composers and performers to escape from the confines of the located performance and day by day earnings to a global audience purchasing into the future.
  2. Recordings are sold, broadcast or distributed online.
  3. The business model of sales of a physical recording has been declining since digitisation enabled very accurate copying and piracy and then the internet enabled easy dissemination and free downloading to users near and remote.
  4. The industry, having lost its earnings base in physical recordings, has fumbled with finding a way to ‘monetise’ the billions of downloads taking place on the internet without payment to copyright owners. Industry conferences year by year proclaim a new solution which then fails to provide the income needed to pay for production. Will this year’s solution – subscription payments for streaming from the cloud – be the silver bullet?
  5. The disregard of copyright in this situation has created widespread questioning of the practicality or indeed, legitimacy of copyright. See below.
  6. The loss of copyright royalties as an income source challenges the very definition and basis of the creative industries. With the advent of broadband, it becomes practicable to download much larger files – of films, for instance. Music is increasingly sharing its problems with other art forms, most recently, film. Film companies have taken an ISP, iinet, to court to attempt to require it to block illegal file-sharing of films. They have lost their case, and appealed.
  7. A lot of recordings in what might be thought of as commercially viable genres are not successful financially. This is even more the case with recordings in other genres though they may feature some of Australia’s very finest performers and most brilliant compositions. In the days when these performances were distributed on physical recordings, many were only possible through small (say $5,000) grants from the Music Board. Now circumstances have changed, a much larger global audience is accessible online, but the possibility of income is reduced as described above. Nevertheless, the artists, and Australia, become better known and admired and other possibilities, for instance for touring, emerge.
  8. The MCA therefore advocates increased funding in support of the production of recordings of highly accomplished artists. It is noted that a previous government decided to provide $1 million per year to a particular record company to produce high quality recordings. The Australia Council was obliged, against the arm’s length principle, to be the conduit for these funds. The entire support to recordings at that time was a fraction of this amount. The contract with the company is completed this year. It should be acknowledged that reviews of the releases from this company almost always note the unusually high standard of the recorded sound and to this extent the grant is justified by having demonstrated the outcome of adequate funding.
  9. The Music Council strongly recommends the retention and redirection of the $1million, beginning in 2012, to be distributed by the Music Board among the best applications for assistance for recording projects.

Broadcast music

  1. There is additional treatment of broadcasting in the next section of this paper, concerning infrastructure. Apologies: there was not time to rationalise.
  2. Radio broadcast is the primary means of access to music, including Australian music. Television broadcast also takes music to a very large audience but the music is not usually front of mind or identified and therefore lacks stand-alone commercial viability.
  3. Music Council research confirms research elsewhere that sales of recordings are linked to exposure by radio. (Hence the payola rackets in the USA.) Radio also has the ability to build audiences for live performances as can be seen through the unusual activities of FBi community radio in Sydney.
  4. Because broadcast spectrum is scarce and is licensed to broadcasters by the government, the government can require a quid pro quo from licensees. These conditions have including requirements to broadcast local content.
  5. Such requirements are strongly supported by the Music Council and the music industry, though not without some dissenting opinion.
  6. For commercial radio in Australia, there has been a long history of broadcasting Australian content only to the level that meets the licensing requirement. In recent years, there have been repeated attempts by commercial radio to weaken or terminate the local content requirements, with the most recent development being an agreement by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), under guidance from the Minister and after pressure from the broadcasters, to exclude digital-only radio on an interim basis from any local content requirement.
  7. The basis for commercial radio’s distaste for Australian music is not known. We speculate that from the thousands of tracks available, those from abroad have already been tested and commercially culled in foreign markets and so present less of a risk than unculled Australian tracks. Also that recordings from major multinational companies come backed by large marketing budgets. While for the public and the music sector, music is the reason for listening to the radio, for the broadcasters music is what keeps the listener tuned in until the next advertisement. They are not necessarily motivated by the musical content.
  8. Under the Australia United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), there is a ‘ratcheting’ provision under which any reduction in the percentage local content quota cannot be reversed. The ruling on digital-only radio appears to have escaped the ratcheting provision but documents delivered to the Music Council under an FOI procedure revealed no consciousness of that situation and our good fortune seems to be inadvertent.
  9. Free to air broadcast has lost its monopoly position with the advent of internet radio and music on demand which, not requiring the use of spectrum and being globally sourced, escape Australian regulation in general, including for local content.
  10. The current Convergence Review has raised the possibility of abandoning local content quotas on the grounds that they impose costs on Australian free to air broadcasters that are escaped by their online competitors and are therefore inequitable.
  11. We note that while television does have to meet substantial production costs in achieving local content quotas, there are no such costs for radio broadcasting Australian music.
  12. If Australian music is not broadcast on Australian commercial radio, which is still the main point of access by listeners, then we may expect a further collapse in the sales and therefore financial viability and production of Australian recordings.
  13. The public and community radio sectors could become the main points of access to Australian music. Their value to the culture increases, but their reach is not comparable to that of the commercial sector.
  14. There is discussion about how to retain Australian content on broadcast and digital media in the absence of regulatory requirements. An apparent alternative is to subsidise production, a far more expensive strategy for government than regulation. Another is to divert some licence fees paid to government by broadcasters to subsidise the broadcast of Australian music on non-commercial channels. This could apply also to television.

Music in film and television

  1. Music is an important element in film and television productions and Australian productions usually use Australian music. Royalties to composers and publishers from this source have been resilient in a time of difficulty otherwise.
  2. If local content quotas are terminated, it is likely that local television production will dry up because it costs stations about ten times more to fill a television hour with a local production as compared with the cost of licensing content from the USA or other countries.
  3. Ratcheting provisions will apply. If requirements are terminated, we are totally ratcheted.
  4. There is a requirement for Australian film productions that in order to achieve government subsidy or tax concessions, they must meet local content requirements. The use of Australian music can be cited as a component of the Australianness but is not mandatory.

Music and the internet

  1. This is the growing edge of music’s involvement in the creative industries.
  2. For reasons well known, the internet has caused major disruption to the music sector, both positive and negative.
  3. It has removed barriers to access to publication and distribution of recordings, opening a global market to even the most esoteric of recordings. In theory, recordings of interest to a niche market which is unviable if restricted to local audiences can become viable because of the ease of access to a much large international market.
  4. The problem is in gaining income from recordings distributed over the internet. The situation is very fluid and we will not go into detail of the current options.
  5. In the industry’s view, the entities that do profit from the situation are the ISPs. Whether or not downloading is legal, the data passes through their pipes and the passage is paid for by subscribers. Attempts by the music industry and recently in Australia, the film industry via legal proceedings, to have the ISPs regulate the traffic or share their income have so far failed.
  6. The ISPs are reaching a period where they themselves will become content providers in order to compete. It is conjectured that they will find themselves competing with ‘free’ and look at the situation from a different perspective.
  7. The Australian Attorney-General’ Department is engaged in a series of meetings with representatives of the copyright content industries to explore solutions to these issues.

Music and the NBN

  1. Some probable outcomes of the introduction of the NBN can already be seen in the uses made of the slower internet. Others, inevitably, will not yet have been conceived and will evolve.
  2. There will be many uses in education. (See the education section.)
  3. Music as a creative industry will benefit from the NBN in some predictable ways and some not yet conceived.
  4. International real-time high-definition presentations of musical performances will be possible and could benefit geographically isolated Australia more than most countries.
  5. The disadvantages of generating musical productions in the regions will be ameliorated since they will have real-time access to audiences beyond the local population. It will become more feasible for artists to live and work in the regions.
  6. Having brought the cable to the door, there may need to be no further intervention by the Commonwealth to support commercially viable regional enterprises. For the non-profit sector, it may be that assistance with access to facilities will enable more NBN activity.

Devise and advocate strategies to encourage digital music innovation and investment.

  1. This proposal also concerns the music sector and is another outcome of the think tanks. However, the broad issue concerning innovation probably is relevant in other cultural areas.
  2. Australia is not a notable source of innovation in the digital music arena. This lies behind many of our problems.
  3. The objective is far-reaching. It is about creating an environment in which innovation flourishes. It is the key generally to the problems identified by the think tanks, in particular the current urgent problem of successful monetising of the digital distribution of music.
  4. Some planned Music Council projects or concepts could contribute, were funds available:
    • the microfinance proposal (below)
    • an incubator model: a concentration of musical artists and businesses in a small precinct to encourage creative interaction and innovation
    • a further think tank to investigate cutting edge digital music business models
  5. The think tanks identified some successful current practices and new possibilities, such as the use of online social networking, a diversity of revenue sources, ways of leveraging recorded music to generate new revenue streams
  6. How can an environment be created in which innovation is encouraged, rewarded and communicated?

Export and tourism. See the International section below.

  1. Both physical property and intellectual property are the result of human effort for which there should be fair remuneration. Physical property remains in the ownership of its creator or purchaser for as long as the property and owner exist. Arguments that the same principle does not apply to intellectual property should be very robust.
  2. The practical difficulties of asserting ownership of intellectual property occasioned in recent years by the internet have led some to assert that in principle the right to intellectual property is weak or even absent. The Music Council rejects this view.
  3. That said, it recognises the need to accept and respond to the realities of the situation. While it is possible to assert ownership by seeking to punish individuals who steal copyright music by one digital means or another, there seems now to be wide agreement in the music sector that this is counterproductive. The objective is to find successful means of securing income from the use of copyright music that grows the market in order to provide remuneration and a living for the musical creators and other copyright owners.
  4. As already noted, this is no longer just a music industry problem. It pervades the creative industries, by definition (above) dependent on the ‘potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.’ Save the appearance of effective solutions, the problem is going to be even more widely shared as the capacity of the internet increases. In music, when the internet ran at speeds adequate to download (low fidelity) single tracks in a reasonable duration, the market for physical singles recordings disappeared. As albums and then films could be downloaded before the recipient’s next birthday, the problem spread wider. No doubt it has its ramifications beyond the arts.
  5. There will be submissions by others more expert in this complex field

Government support to the creative industries through tax deductions or offsets

  1. Support to presentation of live music in licensed venues. A recent study by APRA showed that this is a very substantial source of revenue for musicians and for the venues. The value of business in liquor-licensed live music venues nationally was estimated at $1.2billion.
  2. The APRA study asked venue proprietors “What do you see as the barriers to owning/operating a live music venue?” 62% responded “Cost of talent” and 26% responded “Cost of infrastructure”. Addressing cost, along with the implicit official endorsement of the activity, has the potential to affect behaviour.
  3. A possibility is to offer a tax deduction beyond that applying from the cost of this aspect of the business: for instance, tax deductibility for 150% of the payments made to the performers. The actual percentage would be decided as an outcome of study.
  4. We hypothesise that this assistance could lead to a major expansion of live music in licensed premises, with spin-offs for the position and quality of music in society and even, as in the past, a boost to artist development and exports.
  5. Tax offset for music theatre productions. The music sector occasionally looks to the tax offsets and subsidies offered to the film industry as a model for support to the music sector. The case is less easy to formulate for music because for film, the capital cost is a much greater obstacle to production than is, for instance, the cost of producing an audio recording.
  6. However, the cost of mounting a profitable music theatre production can run into millions of dollars, with audience expectations of the production values very high due to the fabulously ornate shows arriving in Australia from overseas. A song and dance act is not enough. Australian producers have shown the skill to design and present such productions, for the most part of the well-known foreign works.
  7. This nevertheless is a high risk business hungry for capital.
  8. In particular, there is a lack of Australian-originated music theatre. There is good reason to suppose that we could be successful in this genre. But it must be recognised that, as with film, there are more financial failures than successes – the source of the need for tax offsets for film production. We suggest that there is great potential for Australian music theatre were similar offsets available to it.
  9. Success could produce a new industry that brings substantial export earnings.

The use of government incentives to create an investment market for music

  1. Build investment incentives scheme to support “emerging” artists. In 2009 the MCA, with QUT collaboration, held four day-long think tanks with, successively, artists, managers and venues, labels and publishers, retailers, digital distributors and ISPs. The following proposal concerns only the music sector.
  2. It was revealed that, as a consequence of the changed financial status of record companies, finance for emerging artists tends to be available only after an extended period in which they have to establish a market position through their own efforts. This is a difficult period for these artists.
  3. Further, it is reported by industry people that there is no capital market for recorded music production. This proposal addresses both issues.
  4. It is proposed that a microfinance / venture capital scheme is set up to invest in emerging artists of outstanding promise. This may require tax inducements from the Commonwealth to attract venture capital. Probably, it would be structured as a portfolio scheme with selection of artists made by professional managers at arm’s length from investors.
  5. The accompanying objective of the scheme is to familiarise investors with the workings of the music industry, build investment structures, and so encourage investments.
  6. Details depend on further discussion. The scheme could include:
    • Commonwealth tax inducements for investors
    • Government investment either alone or shared on some percentage basis
    • Private entities constructing portfolio ventures in which government and private investors share
    • Guidelines for selection of artists, executed by professional managers
    • From the artists’ perspective, investments as a sort of microfinance which assists them to build their own careers, possibly businesses, produce new work, maintain rights to the work they produce
    • Terms of investment which offer the possibility of profit for the fund but do not unreasonably constrain the freedom of the artists to move their careers into the next phase.
  7. It is suggested that successful implementation of this proposal might create a model for emulation in other sectors.

More on an investment market

  1. A British study, Risky Business, by Helen Burrows and Kitty Ussher, shows statistically that contrary to general supposition, investment in the creative industries is no more risky than investment in the, well, non-creative industries. 36 However, the general supposition makes that investment more difficult because it is shared, for instance, by the banks who therefore are disinclined to lend. Development of the creative industries, which the British PM regards as having very high potential for Britain, is held back.
  2. The study makes 16 recommendations for action by the British government. We are not aware of a parallel study in Australia, so suggest that one be commissioned and in the meantime, thought is given to the study’s recommendations.
  3. These include government collection of data, a priority we continue to insist upon for Australia. It notes that there are existing government facilities to assist investment and proposes that they be modified as necessary to support the creative industries sector. One that seems especially appropriate to the Australian situation: “The Government should work with HMRC’s Small Companies Enterprise Centre and sector representatives to explore how the Enterprise Investment Scheme can enable small enterprises ambitious for growth in the creative industries sector to attract investment. In particular Government and HMRC should clarify the rule around earnings from royalties to enable creative industry content companies to access the scheme.”

Governments adopt a policy of preferment of Australian music for use in their own operations.

  1. There is a need for adoption of an ethos which leads to a conscious choice by government agencies and private entities to use Australian music for theme songs, public performances etc While the proposals here are for government action, they seek to produce earned income rather than subsidy.
  2. Bring relevant Ministers and Departments to the realisation that the music sector is a substantial contributor to the national economy and that on the evidence presented by some foreign countries, it has the potential to be even larger. Also that the music sector is an important source of innovation in the digital arena, and a substantial employer.
  3. Australian music is potentially an important element of Brand Australia. Promote the use of Australian music in Brand Australia exercises.
  4. The Commonwealth would require that embassies ensure the inclusion of Australian works in concerts and events that they present
  5. Advocate to tourism authorities the inclusion of Australian music as an attraction in tourist promotion; this may assist in halting the slide in tourism that might be partly attributed to the narrow profile Australia offers in international tourist campaigns. (See the international section.)
  6. Use of Australian music as a matter of policy should be explored with the Departments of Arts, Innovation, Education, Tourism, Trade, Small Business.

‘Go for Gold’

  1. A proposal from the MCA’s 2008 summit was the creation of a funding mechanism for large one-off industry assistance grants to a very small number of arts organisations as a strategy for lifting them to a new, self-reliant financial level. The example given was Cirque de Soleil, the Canadian circus which was backed generously by the Quebec government from its inception, with spectacular results. Formed by two stilt walking buskers, in 16 years Cirque du Soleil grew from the street to an international mega-company. They proposed not so much a new form of circus, but a stripped back circus, importantly, one without animals, along lines pioneered by Australia’s Circus Oz. They were laughed at by financiers. However, the city of Montreal backed their talent and they were given rent-free premises for their base and rehearsal space and the Quebec Government commissioned a performance to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the arrival of Jacques Cartier in Canada in 1984.

    In 1987, the Quebec government provided the company with $1.5 million to purchase equipment. In an audacious move, the company’s founders, Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier, risked it all on one make-or-break performance at a Californian arts festival for no fee and only the promise of top billing. As Laliberté explained, “When first we went in LA, you know, we had no money to put gasoline in our truck to come back if we failed down there … We went through our last penny in order to go down there, and we risked everything.”

    Today, the company has more than 4,000 employees from more than 40 countries and its unit companies have performed to audiences totalling 90 million on five continents. In 2009, it presented 20 shows simultaneously world-wide.

    (Interview with Guy Laliberté, for PBS, see online at Cirque du Soleil, see This was a risk for the company but also for the government, financially certainly and politically too, depending upon the local acceptance that risks by government, as by anyone, may pay off but also may fail.


  1. The Commonwealth collects comprehensive statistics for the music sector and for the creative industries
  2. Achieve best practice regulation of licensed venues by each state and territory, reducing obstacles to live music presentation
  3. Appoint a National Live Music Coordinator
  4. The Commonwealth assists as possible with solutions for remuneration to copyright holders for distribution of their works on the internet
  5. The Music Board be permitted from 2012 to redistribute $1million in funds now provided to a single record company, among the best applicants for assistance for recording projects
  6. The Commonwealth sustains and strengthens local content requirements on free to air broadcasters for as long as effective or until an effective alternative is found.
  7. The Commonwealth assists with utilisation of the NBN, especially for non-profit purposes in the regions.
  8. The Commonwealth investigates and selects strategies to encourage digital music innovation and investment.
  9. The Commonwealth explores the use of tax incentives to assist development in the creative industries: for instance, to encourage more licensed venues to present music, and to build a music theatre industry in Australia capable of producing and exporting local works.
  10. Governments adopt a policy of preferment of Australian music for use in their own operations.
  11. The Commonwealth creates a funding mechanism for large one-off industry assistance grants to a very small number of arts organisations with commercial potential.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Statistical data to support improved policy making and commercial decisions. KPI: Commonwealth commitment to collection of data on a continuing basis.
  2. More licensed venues present more live music. KPIs: Commonwealth data collection includes number of such venues, number of presentations of live music.
  3. Dependable remuneration for copyright owners for use of their works via the internet, with positive consequences for record production and sales. KPI: solution to the current obstacles; statistical data for number of recordings produced, number and value of sales.
  4. KPI: An increase in the number and diversity of recordings funded by the Music Board of the Australia Council. Planned size of the increase to be advised by the Music Board.
  5. Local music and television productions continue to be accessible via free to air broadcast, sustaining the local production industries. KPIs: percentages of broadcast time achieved for various categories of local content, times of day broadcast.
  6. Broad access to the NBN with all the anticipated benefits for communications, regional development and international marketing. KPI: nature and incidence of Commonwealth assistance to facilitate access.
  7. New strategies to create investments in the music and creative industries. KPIs: investment levels, correlated to specific strategies.
  8. Greatly increased exposure of Australian music as a result of government preferment. KPIs: publication of relevant policies of Commonwealth entities, programmatic outcomes.
  9. Australia’s counterparts to Cirque de Soleil are born. KPI: establishment of a ‘Go for Gold’ scheme, measurement of outcomes.


This section includes the following points:

  • There are definitional issues about ‘infrastructure’ which we resolve with the help of the dictionary
  • Buildings are mostly the responsibility of state and local government but the Commonwealth can play a role – e.g. its requirement that newly funded school halls are available to the community
  • National cultural sector organisations are of value to the Commonwealth as sources of information and opinion, but can be financially marginal. There are ways the Commonwealth can assist
  • Broadcast spectrum will be newly available with the switch-off of analogue. It should be assigned on condition of meeting diversity, local content requirements
  • The National Broadband Network will bring a great range of opportunities to the cultural sector. It also brings problems
  • It will make internet piracy of large files such as those for films much more practicable; there may be room for government intervention
  • It offers various opportunities to escape local content requirements, with disadvantage to the Australian community, the production industry, and to broadcasters who do have to meet the costs of compliance; these should be blocked
  • It is proposed that the Determination made by former Communications Minister Alston in 2000 that Australia’s broadcasting regulatory framework does not apply to ‘television-like’ services should be rescinded
  • Local content requirements should be platform-neutral
  • It is proposed that revenue from the sale of analogue spectrum be used to support local production
  • It is proposed that the responsibilities of the NBN company be enshrined in a charter that specifies its social and cultural obligations inter alia
  • It is proposed that NBN is subject to must-carry rules for the publicly funded broadcasters the ABC, SBS, NITV, and other publicly supported television, radio and internet services including community television and radio


  1. ‘Infrastructure’ in the Australian arts sector seems often to be taken to include, for instance, all the arts companies, or all the large arts companies. This too broad definition obscures the function of infrastructure. The Macquarie Dictionary definition: ‘1. the basic framework or underlying foundation (as of an organisation or a system); 2. the buildings or permanent installations associated with an organisation, operation etc.’
  2. While it is difficult to draw lines, it does seem useful to say that an arts organisation cannot be simultaneously infrastructure and superstructure, underlying foundation and arts production.
  3. For a national cultural policy, it would seem wise to identify the national cultural infrastructure.
  4. The underlying foundation of the arts sector is, in one sense, the artists and their works. Without them, nothing else is possible. But having acknowledged that, it does not seem to help the discussion. Day to day, they need an underlying supportive structure. They are not that structure.


  1. Buildings seem easily to fit within the definition of infrastructure. As noted above, the provision of buildings is mostly the responsibility of state and local governments. The national responsibility is exercised mostly through a few national facilities located in Canberra – the National Gallery, Library, Museum and so on. But a national cultural policy might also take an overview of the adequacy of provision around the country generally. The government did so when it made it a condition for school halls funded by the current building program to make themselves available for out-of-hours use by the community.
  2. The Australian Performing Arts Centres Association, associations for museums and galleries and others might give informed opinions about the adequacy of the building infrastructure. On an informal survey, it seems that Australia may be served reasonably well by formal public galleries and performing spaces, heritage preservation and so on.
  3. Complaints about inadequacies generally are at the level of small companies, artist-organised spaces, spaces for community arts activity. On a rational distribution of responsibilities, this would seem at first sight more the concern of state or local government. Nevertheless, this is the place for diversity, useful ad hockery and innovation, widespread participation, all of which are very important concerns for a national cultural policy. Perhaps there are possible strategies for the Commonwealth to be a partner in provision of such spaces.
  4. One possibility is for the Commonwealth to encourage schools with new school halls to invite artists or arts companies to take up residencies, perhaps in return for some regular interaction with the students. This could be highly valuable for all concerned. The artists could use funds saved on rent to assist with, for instance, touring. There is plenty of room for invention. The Music Council has attempted to set itself up as a midwife for such collaborations, and has a shovel-ready scheme but has been defeated by lack of funds.

Whole of government

  1. Most government ministries and departments can provide elements of cultural infrastructure.

National cultural sector associations

  1. For the most part, national associations such as the Music Council of Australia and its counterparts in other art forms, associations for the heritage, for arts education and other segments of the cultural sector do not produce or present art but in various ways support those that do. To some extent they are the civil society counterparts of the supporting agencies of governments. Because of this special function, on occasion they miss out with funding or policy consideration by government agencies. In other ways they are important to government agencies because they take it as part of their role to provide information about and articulate the concerns of their sectors, and so can assist government decision making. They have a role in a national cultural policy.
  2. Because of its size, in Australia there can be considerable differences between the interests and views of national, state and local cultural sector organisations. In some cases, a national association has been formed by agreement between existing state associations. Often, in such structures, the national association is weak and periodically under threat of withdrawal of funds or membership of state associations. Some do not survive. In other cases, an existing national association sets up state branches. Here, the national may have greater stability but there still can be the threat of disruption by its state members.
  3. So far as a national cultural policy is concerned, the government is more likely to get a national viewpoint from national industry associations. The more competent these organisations are, the more useful they can be to the Commonwealth. It is in its interests to strengthen them and a good way to do that is to look for ways of paying for their expert services in, for instance, research, publishing or project management.

Broadcast spectrum

  1. As Australia approaches the transition to digital, a once in a lifetime opportunity is presented for dramatically enhanced program choices for Australian audiences. Regulatory requirements must sustain local content levels, must include appropriate levels of Australian programs that reflect Australia’s cultural diversity and identity – stories about Australia told by Australians to Australians. This can have flow-on effects of bolstering the viability of the Australian production industry and introducing greater competition in the broadcast sector.
  2. The Music Council considers that as multi-channels are allowed, they must be required to broadcast Australian programs (and commercials) in accordance with the provisions of an Australian content standard at the maximum level allowable within the restrictions imposed by the Australia United States Free Trade Agreement.
  3. Switching off the analogue spectrum will enable new entrants in the media landscape and the opportunity to enhance diversity of media ownership. It is also a time to consider licensing a fourth commercial free to air broadcaster.

Broadband infrastructure

  1. This is increasingly important to the success of the cultural sector domestically and internationally. The government’s broadband rollout will be beneficial in a multitude of ways, including new opportunities for online teaching, distance education, performances involving multiple locations, artist self-promotion and others.
  2. Nevertheless, it could introduce a number of serious problems that should be addressed in advance so far as is possible.
  3. By facilitating rapid downloading of audio and audiovisual materials the increased broadband capacity will inadvertently encourage more piracy. The industry does not necessarily look to government as having the primary responsibility but its collaboration would be valued and may be necessary in finding solutions that get royalty income to copyright holders.
  4. Further, the introduction of the National Broadband Network has the potential to adversely affect the viability of the commercial free to air television networks, dramatically dilute the availability of Australian content, marginalize the presence of Australian content in the overall media landscape and facilitate the introduction of unregulated IPTV broadcasting.
  5. Of real concern is the Determination made by former Communications Minister Alston in 2000 wherein he determined that Australia’s broadcasting regulatory framework does not apply to ‘television-like’ services. As this means that content and classification regulations cannot be imposed on IPTV or television-like services distributed through the National Broadband Network, the Music Council recommends that this Determination be rescinded. Doing so is an essential first step to ensuring the Government retains the regulatory control it currently has with respect to free to air and subscription services.
  6. The Music Council believes that what we are accustomed to viewing on analogue television sets should be platform-neutral: so far as is possible, the regulation should remain fundamentally the same regardless of the technology by which it is delivered.
  7. Free to air commercial broadcasters are required to air certain levels of Australian content to ensure that they ‘broadcast Australian programming which reflects the multi-cultural nature of Australia’s population, promote[s] Australian culture and identity and facilitates the development of the local production industry’.
  8. They thus fulfill social and cultural obligations imposed by successive governments in acknowledgement of the important cultural role they play and in acknowledgement of the commercial benefits that accrue with access to scarce and valuable spectrum. The Music Council considers similar obligations should be imposed in respect of the NBN given that it is Australian taxpayers who are to be the major investors in the construction of the NBN, delivering a significant benefit to the commercial operators of the future.
  9. Overseas, regulators like those in the United Kingdom and Canada have recognized that new funding models for local content will be required and are developing a raft of proposals. The Music Council agrees with Foxtel’s Kim Williams when he says ‘we must ensure the digital dividend is not lost’ and supports revenue from the sale of spectrum following the switch-off of the analogue signal being utilised to support local production, in combination with a range of other measures that the government might find attractive.
  10. The Music Council understands that the ABC has called for the NBN company to be legislatively required to operate in the interests of the Australian public and suggests that its social and cultural obligations be enshrined in a charter, as is the case with the ABC and SBS. The Music Council supports this proposal.
  11. Finally, the Music Council supports calls for the imposition of must-carry rules for the NBN to carry publicly funded broadcasters including the ABC, SBS, NITV and other publicly supported television, radio and internet services including community television and radio services.


  1. The Commonwealth plays a greater role in the provision of physical facilities for arts practice, in partnership with other levels of government.
  2. The Commonwealth facilitates use of BER school halls by cultural organisations, in accordance with its own guidelines.
  3. The Commonwealth strengthen national arts infrastructure organisations by paying for their expert services in, for instance, research.
  4. Ensure that broadcaster licensees broadcast adequate Australian content, including on multichannels. Rescind the Alston Determination on ‘television-like’ services.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. More participation in arts practice, more arts production. KPI: ABS measures of arts participation by professionals and by amateurs.
  2. Accommodation problems for arts groups are eased. KPI: list government assistance programs; list new or upgraded facilities; compare year by year.
  3. More expert and resilient national arts organisations. KPI: measure their budgetary outcomes, percentage of budgets achieved through subsidy, earned income; trends.
  4. Maintenance of access to Australian content via the media. KPIs: percentages of broadcast time achieved for various categories of local content, times of day broadcast. As for para 688.


This section includes the following points:

  • By the methods available to us, the Music Council estimates the value of the music sector at $7 billion, treated as a satellite account (like tourism)
  • There is the widest agreement in the music industry on the need for comprehensive statistical data; only the Commonwealth can meet this need
  • There is no doubt a parallel need for data for other cultural sectors
  • The Music Council is doing what it can to fill some gaps, more through analysis and interpretation than generation of additional statistics; there are more gaps than statistics
  • The Music Council supports the research initiatives of the Australia Council
  1. Collect comprehensive statistical data on the music sector: a music GDP. This would support intelligent policy formulation and for the private sector, business planning. There is no issue on which there is wider industry agreement than the need for adequate statistical data on the music sector.
  2. The Music Council:
    • has prepared a theoretical framework for a statistical collection for the music sector, commissioned by the Cultural Ministers’ Council
    • has begun to analyse all available statistics collected by music sector organisations
    • has begun to analyse all relevant ABS statistics
    • is assembling all of this data for ready reference on its Music in Australia Knowledge Base, accessible through
    • will confirm the gaps after these statistics are collected.
  3. However, we know already that there are more gaps than statistics.
  4. The Music Council cannot do more than the above without more resources.
  5. Comprehensive statistics would of course include the value of the music activity in licensed venues, a proposal recently presented to the Minister by Dean Ormston of APRA and the MCA Board.
  6. Our economist estimates that the music sector, treated as a satellite account (as is the tourist industry), has a value, a music GDP, of approximately $7 billion.,com_kb/task,article/article,78/ Treatment as a satellite account would mean, for instance, inclusion of the value of the broadcasting industry insofar as it is playing a role in disseminating music; a large part of the industry would not exist without music as content. The non-music section of the industry is not included. In the national accounts, broadcasting would not be counted twice.
  7. Total government direct funding to music through grants totalled about $120 million in 2005-6.,com_kb/task,article/article,104/
  8. Our estimate of the cost for ABS to collect comprehensive statistics for the sector on a three-year rolling basis is of the order of $400,000 per annum. This is a very small proportion of the expenditures of government and especially of the sector as a whole.
  9. Collect comprehensive statistical data on other cultural sectors: a culture GDP. Presumably, other sectors have similar need.
  10. Fund cultural sector research. The Australia Council has expanded its research activities. This is an appropriate role for the government through the Council and is supported in principle by the Music Council. The (self-interested) point can be made that if the Australia Council contracted its research out to arts service organisations, it would both receive the sought information and increase the capacity and financial resilience of the organisations.


  1. The Commonwealth takes responsibility for collection comprehensive statistical data on the music sector, supplemented by statistical collection by some music industry organisations.
  2. The Commonwealth takes responsibility for collection comprehensive statistical data on the arts sector, supplemented by statistical collection by some arts industry organisations.
  3. The Commonwealth, through the Australia Council or other government entities, continues to undertake cultural sector research.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Substantially better informed and more effective policy formation and implementation by the Commonwealth and other governments. KPI: The collection by the Commonwealth of comprehensive data on the music sector, continually updated.
  2. Substantially better informed and successful business planning in the arts sector. KPI: ditto for the arts sector and for creative industries as a whole.


(Aspects of this plan support the rights to an education, free expression, remuneration of artists, the right to participate in one’s culture…)

This section includes the following points:

  • Project Australian culture internationally through cultural and trade diplomacy; a method used by other sophisticated countries
  • Develop a comprehensive strategy for Australian cultural exports
  • Use Australian culture to promote inbound tourism
  • Assert Australia’s cultural sovereignty in the negotiation of free trade agreements; continue to exclude culture; seal off new agreements from the errors in FTA’s with the USA and NZ
  • Implement the UNESCO Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
  • Facilitate Australia’s engagement with the cultures of the world by continuing to enable inbound cultural touring.
  • Provide assistance to cultural development in developing countries through NGO’s as well as governments

Project Australian culture internationally through cultural and trade diplomacy

  1. If a country is seen to have a sophisticated and highly accomplished culture, by inference it may be similarly sophisticated in its industry and technology. European countries and the USA understand the value of projecting their cultures through their diplomatic structures, general trade fairs and special organisations such as the British Council, the Alliance Francaise and the Goethe Institute.
  2. Lacking an Australian counterpart of these organisations, cultural officers have been attached to major embassies and small cultural budgets allocated to the ambassadors. But even this provision was terminated by the present government at the beginning of its 2007 term.
  3. It is suggested that the utilisation of Australian art and artists remains a valuable tool for the projection of the Australian presence internationally. It is further proposed that the Minister for Foreign Affairs develop a plan that integrates diplomatic and trade objectives for the international projection of Australian culture. Diplomacy could present quality Australian artists for its own purposes while at the same time assisting their success in establishing themselves in international markets.
  4. The objectives of a more integrated plan could be
    1. international promotion of Australian culture for diplomatic objectives, allied with:
    2. increase in cultural exports through presence and sales overseas
    3. increase in cultural exports through inwards tourism
    4. assistance to Australian artists, suitably qualified, committed and prepared, to build international careers.

A comprehensive export strategy

  1. We reserve our comments here for music exports since we are not knowledgeable about the circumstances of other art forms.
  2. Australia is a net importer of music as measured by royalty payments (a ratio of about 3:1 imports to exports) and instrument sales (almost all imported). Statistics for international touring either do not exist or are not known to us. (If they were to be developed, the result should be calculated for net income for Australians touring abroad and for foreigners touring Australia.) Our emphasis here is on the export of recordings and live performances.
  3. Most countries are net importers of music as measured by royalties. There is a very short list of net music exporters, including the USA, UK, India, and! Sweden. Sweden proves that a small country (a small country that does not have English as its native language) can be a successful music exporter.
  4. A study seeking the reasons for this success discovered four main reasons, in two separate areas. Firstly, in the Swedish music industry there is good expertise allied with low transaction costs due to the high level of internal cooperation. Secondly, a high level of music education is delivered especially via the municipal music schools, resulting in a discerning audience requiring high standards of performance, and a musically skilled population as the platform for the development of professional musicians. A knowledgeable Swedish colleague offers an additional, informal, opinion: the inception of programs in Swedish schools that built musical creativity.
  5. The development of export income depends firstly upon the quality of the artists.
  6. This is the context in which our entire system of professional preparation is tested – and professional preparation begins in early childhood. The quality of musical composition and performance presented to the international market must be of the highest standard (those intrinsic values again). Our very best musicians are of very high standard. Whether they sufficiently often achieve the X-factor quality necessary to global success we cannot say, but we suggest that the most fruitful assumption is that they do not. We should continually ask ourselves why that is and what can be done about it.
  7. We do not train our Olympic athletes to come fourth. In sport, the Commonwealth funds the peak but it also funds down to the community level to ensure that talent is identified and nurtured.
  8. In music, there is not a comparable situation. As shown in the education section of this paper, a basic developmental program in music is absent from most early childhood and primary school programs, with consequences at secondary level, and the tertiary institutions are charged with producing internationally credible outcomes while funded at a level at which all have cut back programs and still incur annual deficits. Professional preparation at the very highest level occurs mainly beyond the borders of any governmental planning.
  9. There is no comprehensive national concept of development at the community level and admission to the individual high quality music programs depends on affluence, geography and luck.
  10. The development of export income depends secondly upon the skills of management and marketing.
  11. These skills have succeeded in supporting the international successes of a number of Australian performers ranging from contemporary music bands to symphony orchestras. However, the industry itself sees the need for development.
  12. The report of the Contemporary Music Working Group to the Commonwealth in 2007 identified the need for greater cooperation among managements in order to lower transaction costs. See the Swedish example above.
  13. An Australian who has held top management positions in multinational record companies reports to the Music Council that from his experience, Australian managers do not perform to the standards necessary for international success and this could be limiting the success of Australian artists. The situation is perhaps similar to that of the artists themselves: there is some extra level of accomplishment and expertise needed. How can that be achieved?
  14. Acknowledgement is made of existing initiatives. The Commonwealth operates the Australian Music Office as an export program of Austrade. APRA, with assistance from the Australia Council, funds Music Australia, which serves as an umbrella for industry promotions at international music conventions and markets. These all tend to support only the contemporary music sector so there is further scope, which might be served by an entity following the British Council model. The Australia Council is also active across the genres, though its budget is too small to have a substantial impact. All of these programs have an impact. The argument here is for a more ambitious, comprehensive strategy that goes beyond marketing to root causes.
  15. The strategies used to prepare for and achieve export successes will also lift standards in Australia and elevate the status of Australian music domestically.

Exports via inbound cultural tourism

  1. Those strategies therefore place Australia in a better position to build inbound music and cultural tourism.
  2. Recent statistics reveal that tourists who include visits to cultural sites or performances spend more than twice the funds spent by other tourists. The tourist authorities seem slowly to be shifting their sights from prawns, barbies, beaches, bikinis and the outback to other attractions. Victoria, for instance, promotes a very wide range of attractions including the cultural.
  3. It is proposed that a survey be designed to discover the situation with and suggest the potential for music tourism.
  4. However, we are not aware of operators working specifically in the cultural area as there are for Europe. One can purchase music tours for Europe. Those known to us are for classical music but there is no reason that for Australia we could not market tours based around festivals, or venues, or specific musical genres. Tour the jazz venues of Sydney and Melbourne! The tour operator can arrange with the clubs that special efforts are made to program the highest quality artists for the nights when the foreign jazz tourists arrive. Rock pubs, arena shows, opera, folk festivals, multicultural festivals, orchestral concerts.
  5. Venues such as the Sydney Opera House, and its users, pursue the tourist market but so far as we are aware, the marketing is to people who already have decided to come to Australia.
  6. There is an opportunity for a new type of Australian entrepreneur. By what strategies could this be encouraged and by whom? What role would the tourist authorities be willing to take on?

Australia’s international free trade agreements

  1. The Australia United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) has imposed limits on the Australian government’s cultural sovereignty – its prerogatives in protecting and promoting Australian culture. These apply in particular to electronic communications. There are limitations on local content requirements for free to air media, and for digital interactive media a web of conditions and obstacles obviously designed to intimidate any government from any action whatever. The relevant exception in AUSFTA concerns ‘interactive media’ and can be invoked if a party believes that local content is not readily available to local audiences. In activating this exception, there is a requirement to invite “participation” by “any affected parties” in any preparations to change the regulations. The USA is obviously an affected party. The negotiators seemed to want to obscure this by noting only that the requirement will oblige consultation with domestic stake holders. Such consultation should be expected and it does not seem necessary to make such a stipulation in an international trade agreement. The requirement, however softened by the language of the FTA, to invite participation from the US is a de facto requirement for approval by the US.

    Given the realities of the situation, probably both Australia and the USA have to agree that Australian audiovisual content or genres thereof are not, in the language of the exception, “readily available” to Australian consumers and that access is not “unreasonably denied”. This already invites major differences of opinion. Furthermore, they would have to agree on all of the following: that measures to address such a situation are “based on objective criteria”, are the “minimum necessary”, are “not more trade restrictive than necessary”, are not “unreasonably burdensome”. Each of these requirements could be subject to radically different interpretation between two parties, one of which wants to defend its own culture and the other which wants to remove all obstructions to its access to the market.

    What happens if, having consulted, the Australian government wishes to proceed with regulations with which the US has stated it is in disagreement. Can the US then retaliate (as it has been seen to do elsewhere, and disproportionately)? Is the knowledge that the US is capable of retaliating likely to inhibit the Australian government from placing Australian cultural interests first? Are they to be constrained a priori by the US’s view of its own trade priorities?

    It might be noted that according to our film industry colleagues at the time of negotiation of AUSFTA, 94% of content on US free-to-air television was locally produced. According to the new UNESCO World Report, about 94% of sales in the US of recorded media (CDs etc) are again of domestic product. While there are no statistics known to us of sales of interactive media, it is unlikely that it would be the US that feels a need to invoke the interactive media exception. Our guess is that it was proposed by the Australian side but worded by the US side.

  2. It may be that it is not possible to solve by regulation problems of Australian content in the digital realm. However, if such intervention is advisable, the government will have to traverse the AUSFTA minefield. In the interim, government should regulate for local content quotas to the extent allowable under the AUSFTA (commercial free to air multichannels and digital radio) until such time as new business models wash through the digital arena and the government is able  to develop coherent strategies (allowable under AUSFTA and in consultation with the US) for supporting Australian content in the fully converged environment.
  3. The Australian government’s right to support Australian culture should not be dictated by the trade ambitions of another country. The Music Council’s policy is that the government should maintain an unfettered right to protect and promote Australian culture, as specified in the UNESCO Convention (below). New free trade agreements should therefore be sealed off from AUSFTA and from CER, the agreement with New Zealand which also has had unfortunate cultural consequences. ”’Cultural sovereignty. ”’Excluding audiovisual industries from general trade agreements has been Government policy for forty years, enjoying bipartisan support, most often given effect by Coalition Governments.

    The Federal Government made no offers in respect of its cultural industries in the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, first negotiated at Bretton Woods against the backdrop of World War II.

    The Menzies Government introduced a 100% Australian content quota for commercials on free to air television in 1960, followed by the introduction of quotas requiring commercial television licensees to show 40% Australian programs, and at least one hour a week between 7.30pm and 9.30pm of programs which were “distinctly Australian in content and character”.

    In the early 1960s, in ongoing GATT negotiations, the United States sought liberalisation of access to television markets. The Menzies Government’s instructions to the Australian delegation were that Australia “would prefer to retain complete freedom of action and not enter into any commitment on the matter, particularly at a time when the television industry in Australia is in its infancy and the lines of its development are uncertain”.

    Australia made no offers in respect of its cultural and audiovisual industries in the GATT, nor in the subsequent General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), signed in April 1994.

    In Geneva in July 2001, the Australian Government made an intervention in the GATS negotiations stating: “Australia has long recognised the essential role of creative artists and cultural organisations in reflecting the intrinsic values and characteristics of our society, and is committed to sustaining our cultural policy objectives within the context of multilateral trade agreements.” In 2003, the Australian Government negotiated two trade agreements, a negative listing agreement with Singapore, and a positive listing agreement with Thailand. In the agreement with Singapore, Australia negotiated a comprehensive Annex II reservation for all of Australia’s cultural industries.

    In 1984, Australia negotiated the Closer Economic Relations agreement with New Zealand. More than a decade later, New Zealand identified an unintended consequence of the way in which the agreement had been drafted and successfully argued before the High Court that New Zealand television programs should count as eligible Australian programs for the purposes of the Australian content standard applying to commercial free to air television broadcasters. With this exception, Australia consistently argued that its national culture could not be subject to the vagaries of trade agreements. Only with the Australia United States Free Trade Agreements were any concessions to cultural sovereignty knowingly negotiated. Since that agreement Australia has returned to is otherwise bipartisan and consistent support for the maintenance of cultural sovereignty.

  4. Parenthetically, it appeared that Australia’s concessions to the US in AUSFTA were a trade-off to gain US concessions to Australia in other industries. This points to a strong reason for exclusion of culture from these agreements: decisions may be made on grounds that bypass cultural objectives – and they are almost impossible to reverse either because of ratcheting provisions or because the other party will not agree to rewriting the agreement even though it has not delivered the intended benefits.
  5. A survey published by the Australian Industry Group suggests that to date, the benefits to Australia have been minimal. Results of FTAs disappointing. A report from Rod Tiffen regarding the Australia US Free Trade Agreement states that ‘[d]espite the fanfare with which the Howard government introduced it, no tangible benefits have resulted for Australia.’ The United States fell ‘from third to fifth among Australian export destinations, overtaken by Korea and most recently India … The value of Australian exports to the US is now only about a quarter of those to the two leading customers, China and Japan. The four Asian countries together take more than 10 times the value of exports to the US. Moreover, between 2004 and 2009, the bilateral trade gap in America’s favour grew even larger. Australia’s imports from America have grown much more quickly than its exports to America. According to US data, the gap in America’s favour grew from $US6.4 billion ($A7.1 billion) to $US11.6 billion.

    The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) reports that late in 2009 it surveyed exporting companies of various sizes across industries including manufacturing, construction, and food and beverage on the effectiveness of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), with a particular focus on the US.

    It showed that less than half of those exporting to the United States are seeing any direct benefits from AUSFTA. Also, 87 per cent believe the arrangement hasn’t improved their access to US government contracts, and three-quarters of exporters reported that AUSFTA isn’t effective in creating new export opportunities.

    Companies are experiencing similar problems with FTAs in other countries including Chile, Singapore and Thailand and the Closer Economic Agreement (CER) with New Zealand.

    “If we consider the amount of government time and effort invested in negotiating FTAs compared with the benefits that Australian companies are gaining from these arrangements, the results are concerning,” Ai Group Chief Executive, Heather Ridout said.

    “The survey shows that FTAs alone do not motivate companies to seek new export opportunities but do provide some advantages to those already exporting to that market.

    “This demonstrates that in an increasingly competitive global market where Australian exporters are carrying the burden of a relatively high Australian dollar, government support programs such as the Export Market Development Grants Scheme are crucial to assisting companies explore the potential of entering new markets.

    Australia is going to increasingly rely on exports to help steer us through the global economic downturn.

    “However, our survey results suggest the potential benefits of FTAs are not being fully realised by Australian exporters due to excessive red tape, complex compliance regimes and subtle protectionism. Ai Group supports the principles of expanding free trade and recognises the many potential benefits for companies including the reduction of import duties, improved market opportunities, and under AUSFTA, increased labour mobility. It is how the government can assist companies to better access these opportunities which we want to explore further,” Mrs Ridout said.

    The survey will contribute to Ai Group’s submission to the recently announced Productivity Commission study into the effectiveness of bilateral and regional FTAs.

    ”’Reported benefits of the free trade agreements in assisting companies’ export activities: ”’

    Destination Country Reported benefits Reported no benefits Thailand 44% 56% USA 40% 60% New Zealand 33% 67% Singapore 31% 69% Chile 29% 71%
    Reported effectiveness of AUSFTA in assisting with specific exporting activities:

    Activity Moderate to Highly Effective Low or Not Effective Access to new export opportunities 22% 78% Access to US domestic markets 59% 41% Access to set up US operations/base 15% 85% Access to US Government contracts 13% 87% Access to US inward investment 0% 100%
    Results based on survey of 50 small to large Australian based exporting companies. The Productivity Commission also found that benefits to industry/business as a result of the AUSFTA have been negligible. 37

Implementation of the UNESCO Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

  1. The government has acceded to this Convention. Presumably its national cultural policy will incorporate the Convention’s objectives.
  2. Among them:
    1.        The assertion of Australia’s cultural sovereignty in the context of international agreements. To date, this government appears to be doing so consistently.
    2.        Fostering cultural diversity within national borders. Government and Australia Council policy are congruent with this objective but seem to have low priority and support. We have argued already for increased support.
    3.        Support, through financial contribution, to the cultural fund established under the Convention. Australia has made a token payment. If it gave ten times more, the contribution would still be modest but would set an example for other countries that might lead to a fund sufficient to give useful support.
    4.        Increased cross-border cultural relations and in particular, support to the development of culturally diverse activities in developing countries.
  3. Support cultural development in developing countries. The Music Council is interested in supporting cultural projects in developing countries as a means to meeting the anti-poverty Millennium Goals, assisting in cultural development and in building the contribution of the cultural sector to the national economies. It sought government support for projects in Afghanistan and Timor Leste, both countries that already receive foreign aid from Australia. We were informed that Australia does not give direct aid to NGO activities of this sort and that it could only respond to direct requests from foreign governments. These two countries already receive substantial aid and while they may wish to use the existing aid for cultural projects, they cannot apply for supplemental aid.
  4. It is understandable that the Australian government works government-to-government in matters of foreign aid and that it would wish to have an indication from a foreign government of its interest in particular types of development.
  5. However, there are other possible indicators of merit for proposed developmental projects. Concerning the arts in developing countries: in many instances they traditionally have been a part of daily cultural life but not of the economy. Governments may need persuasion by successful examples before they understand the potential contribution of the cultural sector to the economy.
  6. The Music Council has given such support as was possible to an astonishing project by an Australian/Afghan to set up a national music school in Kabul – after the Taliban had virtually wiped out the musical culture, and consequently at great risk to himself. The school is an enormous success and a game-changer for those Afghan young people involved. The Music Council attempted to secure some Australian government assistance for this project, but the rules as we discovered them did not allow it.
  7. In any case, work may be carried out by non-government entities more cost-effectively and with less danger of corrupt use of funds. There is a case for direct assistance to cultural activists in the country or to Australian NGOs with convincing partnerships with effective local groups.
  8. Also an important objective of the Convention: Facilitation of touring within Australia of arts and artists from developing countries. Overseas musicians are able to enter Australia on 420 visas raised in one of two ways: electronically, or physically in passports. Until recently, for citizens of developing and under-developed countries the latter applied, giving rise to considerable difficulties because Australia has neither embassies nor consulates in many countries. The process is lengthy and made more difficult if the musical group wishes to tour to other countries.
  9. The Music Council proposed how electronic travel authority visas might be made available to citizens of developing and under-developed countries in a manner that does not pose over-stay risks for the Commonwealth Government. The Government, either on its own initiative or because of this proposal, amended the process accordingly, to its credit. We now need to monitor the situation to assess whether the problem was solved.


  1. Revive and revise the use of Australian culture in Australian diplomacy and integrate it into a broader scheme to build international careers for Australian artists and Australian cultural export income.
  2. Develop a comprehensive export strategy, stretching to the entire preparation of artists and managers and facilitating collaboration between government and industry.
  3. Develop a new model for inbound cultural tourism, test and implement it.
  4. Take actions to build back into the Australian domestic market the high standards and successes of activities in the international market.
  5. Maintain the policy to exclude culture from Australia’s international free trade agreements.
  6. Implement the terms of the UNESCO Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
  7. Support cultural development in developing countries and touring in Australia by artists from those countries.

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. Added respect for the sophistication of Australian achievements in official circles internationally: Australia is no longer seen as a distant cultural province but as an important source of high quality, innovative cultural expression. KPI: devise and implement a strategy for assessing attitudes internationally to the quality of Australian cultural expression.
  2. Greatly expanded cultural export income. KPI: measure of export sales
  3. More thoroughly conceived arts education systems working through from early childhood to the upper reaches of professional preparation. KPI: see education, and community sections of this paper.
  4. More skilled arts management in the international and therefore domestic spheres. KPI: export sales, correlated if possible to assessment of the preparation of managers.
  5. The development of a new industry in inbound cultural tourism. KPI: develop processes of identifying tourists and tourism operators who focus on Australia’s cultural attractions; quantify related income, follow trends, correlate with promotion of cultural tourism.
  6. The maintenance of Australian cultural sovereignty. KPI: culture is neither negotiated nor included in Australia’s international free trade agreements.
  7. Australia plays an important role in assisting cultural and cultural/economic development in developing countries, especially in neighbouring Asian and Pacific countries. KPI: the amount of funds Australia provides for such projects; annual trend.


The situation

  1. The Classical Music Summit organised by the Music Council of Australia (MCA) and held in July 2010 made a large number of recommendations for actions in support of classical music. This provided a basis for the observations and strategies that follow. There is more information at and at various places at .
  2. Australia is very good at classical music. Among its performers and composers are some of the best in the world. A few years ago, a critic in the London Times wrote of the Australian Chamber Orchestra: “This must be the best chamber orchestra on Earth!” and Brett Dean won the world’s richest prize for a composer. There are many other examples. (It is characteristic of classical music that statements of support are about its quality rather than its sales.)
  3. Classical music is an international language and Australia’s position is enhanced by the quality of its participation in that international discourse.
  4. The classical music sector is an important component of the music economy financially and as a source of a great diversity of skilled employment. Box office from major classical music and opera organisations represents about 20% of the total from music.38 66,000 persons were involved in classical music performance in 2002 (ABS) and of those 15,000 received payment (number of opera performers not available). Attendances at classical music and opera events in 2002 were probably around 1.8 million.
  5. The classical music sector includes highly trained and skilled musicians, singers, teachers and staff, and classical music organisations – orchestras, opera companies, choirs, a huge variety of smaller performing organisations, teaching institutions, broadcast, recording and film organisations, classical music presenters and venues etc.
  6. Even though classical music performances sell nearly 2 million tickets each year, the financial situation of individual organisations is often vulnerable. Strategies are required to achieve greater certainty of income and financial strength.
  7. Classical music wants to take advantage of the new possibilities presented by changing attitudes and circumstances. Performers and composers are working to maintain the traditions but also breaking down genre barriers, blending classical techniques with elements of rock, jazz, world music. New forms of presentation are called for, new partnerships with the other arts, new relationships with the audience, new support for risk-taking.
  8. We listen to and perform classical music from the last millennium. Classical music covers a span from the middle ages to the works of living composers given their first performances, literally, today. We can live the musical experience of listeners and performers from centuries past – and of our own composers producing sounds never heard before. This is an invaluable treasure.
  9. It is in the nature of the music that classical music performers require long and intensive music education; they are among the most highly skilled members of the Australian music workforce. A strong music education system is crucial to our success, both in training music professionals and perceptive audiences. The classical music market is international and imposes international standards on Australian performers.
  10. The youth audience. Traditionally, the audience comes to classical music from around the age of 40. But some performers attract a younger audience. Strategies to build the youth audience could include support to young performers and entrepreneurs marketing to young audiences, perhaps with a special emphasis on today’s music.
  11. Community instrastructure. Australia has community-based classical music organisations such as the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Gondwana Voices that are among the most highly accomplished on the planet. They are at the peak of a pyramid with its base in the community. The strength of our musical life and achievement begins with opportunities at the community level.
  12. Regional inequity. Given its size, it is remarkable that in Australia most people have access to classical music radio. (Drive across the USA for a contrasting experience!) Live classical music is plentiful in the major cities. But in regional centres, opportunities to see live performances or to participate in music-making are uneven.
  13. While classical music in some parts of the world, especially the USA, faces severe financial and audience problems, classical music in Australia has maintained its audiences and through innovative management and diversification of income has achieved some financial stability. It wants to consolidate and advance its position through continuing innovation.


  1. Regard classical music as a whole. Support performance of music from all periods and support present day creation and innovation.
    1. Maintain vibrant orchestras and opera companies. These are the financial engine rooms of classical music – the largest employers and attractors of audiences.
    2. Support innovation, especially through the smaller music organisations that have the flexibility to experiment.
    3. Australia has some of the world’s finest living composers. Buy them time to create, support performances, recordings, promotion.
    4. Support risk in music as in other innovative endeavour.
  2. The music education system should provide universal opportunity for a high quality music education including a diversity of music genres, of which classical music is one. (See education section of submission.)
  3. Support classical music’s base in the community. Set alight community enthusiasm to learn, create, perform classical music. Local and state governments especially: enable the activity by housing it and by providing subsidies.
  4. It is important that opportunities for access to and production of performances and education are more equal between cities and regions.
    1. The Commonwealth gives support under regional development funding
    2. Federal and state governments: investigate the possibilities of extending the models offered by the regional conservatoria in NSW, the Dandenong Ranges Music Council in Victoria and Music for Everyone in the ACT for delivering music education and community music development.
    3. Require publicly funded performing arts centres to establish or extend outreach programs and provide concessions and incentives for use of the facilities by community groups including assistance on audience development.
    4. Support tours of live performance.
  5. To pre-empt importation of America’s problems and to move energetically into a changing future, this is a time to explore new strategies for audience building and presentation. The Classical Summit revealed great interest among the performers, composers and managers in building new relationships to inform and engage audiences, in finding exciting new ways of presenting the music and in presenting a new and diverse repertoire without impediment by genre barriers. These initiatives should be continued, expanded and admitted to the strategies of funding bodies.
    1. Involve performers more in audience contact through more participation in repertoire planning and explanation to audiences
    2. Develop more flexible modes of concert presentation using different seating configurations, staging, lighting changes, alternative venues and spaces
    3. Vary methods of program development including audience opportunities, visiting expert curators, special interest composers or events
    4. Consider shorter programs and different times
    5. Use websites and social networking sites to promote, explain and invite audiences to participate
    6. Give increased support to small to medium music organisations and individuals, the most nimble and flexible innovators
    7. Give increased support to composers, creators of the new, whose composing time is usually not supported in the budgets of performers or presenters
    8. Create a means of providing information about innovations in presentation, repertoire, marketing within Australia and internationally, with the intention of building innovation and best practice
    9. Utilise people who can speak brilliantly to bring the music alive through speaking live and through the media, to the public and to decision-makers…
    10. Offer programs to involve audiences in acquiring greater understanding and knowledge of music being performed
    11. Fund regional performing arts centres for cooperative touring programs

What we might expect if these strategies are working

KPIs. KPIs are suggested, quantitative where possible. They are shown in this colour, for easy identification.

  1. A more vibrant classical music sector, presenting at a high international level the music of the heritage and innovations into the future.
  2. Implementation of a range of innovative practices to carry the music into the future, with new cross-genre experimentation, new modes of presentation, more use of digital media, strengthened small to medium enterprises, more support to composers, more expert and discerning audiences, more information to the sector about developments in presentation and marketing here and abroad. KPIs: surveys of managers and artists every three years to measure progress along these variables.
  3. Development of the classical music audience including, especially, the youth audience. KPIs: number and value of tickets sold, percentages of audience in specified age ranges, including audiences in the ranges 20-29, 30-39.
  4. A greater contribution of classical music to the economy. KPI: change in real dollars in sales in the classical music sector.
  5. A strengthened presence of classical music in the public school education systems. KPI: inclusion of classical music content in official curricula.
  6. More opportunities for access and participation to classical music activity at the community level, including in the regions. KPI: number of participatory programs, events, data possibly collected by local governments.


We trust that there are here some useful concepts and observations to contribute to the Minister’s considerations. We would be pleased to elaborate upon request on any particular issues and to discuss the merits of our suggestions.

Australia has never had a comprehensive cultural policy. PM Paul Keating’s Creative Nation took a step forward, introduced new concepts in response to the developments of the time, but left very wide gaps. The Music Council applauds the initiative of the Minister for the Arts in this bold attempt to envision a way forward and wishes it every success.

Richard Letts, Executive Director
For the Music Council of Australia


Dr. HELEN LANCASTER (2013) Chair

ROBYN HOLMES (2014) Deputy Chair

IAN HARVEY (2014) (Treasurer)

Dr. RICHARD LETTS (Secretary, Executive Director)






MEMBERSHIP 2011-2012

Term for position concludes in year shown.


Australasian Performing Right Association Ltd/Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Ltd (APRA/AMCOS): DEAN ORMSTON, Company Secretary and Director of Corporate Affairs.( NSW)

Australian Music Centre: JOHN DAVIS, GM. (NSW)

Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB): MIKE TYLER, Chair, Queensland Advisory Committee; Chair, Federal Board. Principal Education Officer (The Arts), Queensland Department of Education. (QLD)

Australian Music Industry Network: DENISE FOLEY, Director. EO, Q Music. (QLD)

Australian Music Therapy Association: ROB MCGRIGOR. (QLD)

Australian National Choral Association: Prof PETER ROENNFELDT, President; Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. (QLD)

Australian Society for Music Education (ASME): JUDITH HALDANE, Vice-President. (WA)

Australian Youth Music Council (AYMC) JEHAN KANGA, Secretary. (NSW)

Australian Youth Orchestras (AYO) COLIN CORNISH, CEO. (NSW)

International Association of Music Libraries (Australian Branch) (IAML) /Australasian Sound Recordings Association (ASRA): ROBYN HOLMES, Music Curator, National Library of Australia. (ACT)

Musica Viva Australia: MARY JO CAPPS, CEO. (NSW)

Musicians’ Union of Australia: TERRY NOONE, Federal Secretary. (VIC)

National Council of Tertiary Music Schools (NACTMUS) Prof. JULIAN KNOWLES, QUT. (QLD)



Early Childhood Education: (2014) Dr ALEKSANRA ACKER, Lecturer, School of Education, RMIT, Melbourne. (VIC)

Private Music Instruction: (2014) JODY HEALD, President, Tasmanian Music Teachers’ Association, National Chairman Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Association Inc. (TAS)

School Music Education: (2013) JANE LAW, school principal, Department of Education, NSW. Deputy Chair, Music Education Advisory Group, Commonwealth Minister for Education (NSW)


Composition: (2012) DR. ROBERT DAVIDSON. Lecturer in Composition, School of Music, University of Queensland. Artistic Director, Topology. Member, Circle of Friends, Mt Gravatt West Special School. (QLD)

Brass and Concert Bands: (2012) KEVIN CAMERON, President, National Bands Council of Australia (SA)

Computer Music, Multimedia: (2014) Dr ANDREW BROWN, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. President, Australian Computer Music Association. (QLD)

Contemporary Classical Performance: (2013) DR. VANESSA TOMLINSON. Head of Percussion, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. Artistic Advisor, Clocked Out; Ensemble-in-Residence (QLD)

Country Music: (2012) DOBE NEWTON, musician, Bushwackers Band; Executive Committee member, Country Music Association of Australia (VIC)

Early Music: (2012) DR. HELEN RUSAK. Lecturer in Arts and Cultural Management, University of South Australia (SA)

Folk Music: (2013) SEBASTIAN FLYNN, musician, Managing Director, National Folk Festival, Director, Queensland Multicultural Festival (ACT)

Indigenous Music: (2014] JESSIE LLOYD, CEO/Artistic Director, Songlines Aboriginal Corporation. (VIC)

Jazz: (2014) JOANNE KEE, Director, Ceres Solutions , Sound Travellers, places + spaces. Board Member, Sydney Fringe Festival. (NSW)

Opera and Music Theatre: (2014) TIMOTHY SEXTON, CEO and Artistic Director, State Opera of South Australia. (SA)

Popular Music: (2014) CLARE BOWDITCH , singer, songwriter, band leader. (VIC)

Professional Orchestras [2012]. RORY JEFFES, Managing Director, Sydney Symphony (NSW)

World Music: (2012) Prof. HUIB SCHIPPERS, researcher, educationalist, sitarist,. Director, Queensland Conservatorium and Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University. Formerly committee member Dutch National Arts Council and Director, Jazz, Pop and World Music Department, Rotterdam Conservatoire, Netherlands (QLD)

World Music: (2013) CHRIS BOWEN, Director, Dance and Music, Arts Development, Arts Queensland (QLD)



Community Music Development: (2013) PAT RIX, composer, musician, playwright, Director, Tutti Ensemble, Board Member, Arts in Action (SA)

Community Music Development: (2012) MICHELLE LEONARD, Director, Leichhardt Espresso Choir (NSW)

For-profit music industry: (2013) IAN HARVEY, Executive Officer, Australian Music Association; Director, Morton Group (sales and marketing consultancy). (VIC)

International Promotion (2014) MICHAEL SMELLIE, businessman, former Global COO, Sony/BMG. (NSW)

Legal and Copyright: (2012) NATHAN SHEPHERD, solicitor, Allens Arthur Robinson.. Jazz and world musician. (NSW)

Music Broadcasting (public): (2014) GRAEME HINCKLEY, Development and Operations Manager, ABC Classic FM (SA)

Music Broadcasting (Community or Commercial): (2013) CHRIS JOHNSON, Manager, Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (AMRAP), Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. (NSW)

Music Criticism/Journalism: (2013) TBA

Music in Creative Industries (2013) Prof. PHIL GRAHAM, Director, Institute of Creative Industries and Innovation, QUT (QLD)

Music in Film and Television: (2014) ART PHILLIPS, screen composer, immediate Past President, Australian Guild of Screen Composers (NSW)

Music Management: (2014) CATHERINE HARIDY. Catherine Haridy Management. Chair, Association of Artist Managers.(VIC)

Music Publishing: (2014) CATHERINE GERRARD, Chair, Australasian Music Publishers Association; a Director, AMCOS; Executive Director, Publishing and Copyright, All Music Publishing and Distribution Pty Ltd.; Manager, Publishing, Hal Leonard Australia. (VIC)

Policy: (2012) Dr. RICHARD LETTS AM; Executive Director, Music Council of Australia; Past President, International Music Council. Author, editor, researcher. (NSW)

Record Industry: (2013) NICK O’BYRNE, GM, Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) (VIC)

Record Industry: (2014) VANESSA HUTLEY, GM, Music Industry Piracy Investigations, Australian Record Industry Association; ED, Internet Society (Australia) (ISOC (Aust)). (NSW)

Research: (2013) Dr BRYDIE-LEIGH BARTLEET, Lecturer, Research and Music Literature, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QLD)

Venues or Festivals: (2014) ANDREW ROSS, CEO, Powerhouse, Brisbane. (QLD)


Special Member: (2014) TBA

Special Member: (2012) Dr. DAWN BENNETT. Senior Research Fellow, Curtin University (WA)

Special Member: (2013) Dr HELEN LANCASTER. Former director of tertiary music schools in Australia, Thailand. Studies of music leadership. (QLD)

The Music Council acknowledges contributions to this paper from

  • Ray Argall
  • Paul Bodlovich
  • Tony Breese
  • Mary Jo Capps
  • Helen Colman
  • Julie Dyson
  • Sebastian Flynn
  • Lynn Gailey
  • Catherine Haridy
  • Ian Harvey
  • Rich Heath
  • Hans Hoegh-Guldberg
  • Robyn Holmes
  • Jehan Kanga
  • Prof Julian Knowles
  • Dr Helen Lancaster
  • Jane Law
  • Alex Masso
  • Beverley McAlister
  • Nick O’Byrne
  • Dean Ormston
  • Prof Huib Schippers
  • Nathan Shepherd
  • Michael Smellie
  • Mandy Stefanakis
  • Andrew Stone
  • Carolina Triana
  • Dr David Worrall



In everyday life we are inclined to think of cause and effect as rather cut and dried. We have the daily experience of moving objects around, and they respond as expected. We are pretty sure that the workings of the car and the computer would be just as predictable, if only we knew what they were. However, contemporary science shows that cause and effect are not in nearly as certain a relationship as we generally suppose, especially when considering the behaviour of the fundamental particles of matter or of living beings, whether individually or in association with each other. A new science is evolving to capture the causal relationships in complex adaptive systems: entities such as biological beings, forests, economies – or art forms or cultures. These “systems” are obviously causationally “complex”. They are “adaptive” because they are in constant interplay with their environment, adapting as necessary for their well-being to the endless changes it presents. Their adaptation is through evolution of their basic structure, or through learning, so that a “fit” is created between them and their environment.

Complex adaptive systems can be conceived as games played by “agents”, whether cells, plants, humans or arts organisations, against their environment. It is necessary to win at some level in order to be able to keep playing, but to win also is to learn, to use feedback from the environment to improve performance. Since the environment is always changing, this game never ceases, and complex adaptive systems are characterised by perpetual novelty.

Both evolution and learning are enhanced or transformed by the formation of “building blocks” – for instance in the former, new cellular structures or in the latter, new conceptual configurations – at ever higher hierarchical levels. So, to take the next step in learning an artistic discipline, we do not have to retrace our steps through the immense intellectual space between raw, undefined artistic materials and the elaborate constructions we have already been able to place on them, but can reshuffle the building blocks of higher order concepts already organised and understood, sometimes to emerge to a new hierarchical level. An artistic style can always be seen as building upon aspects of its direct predecessors.

Causality in complex adaptive systems must take account of multiple “agents” acting in parallel, without central control. The arts world as a complex adaptive system consists of a myriad of artists and arts organisations, each acting more or less independently but also interacting with the others, as well as the larger environment of the society, the nation and the natural world. There is no Master Organiser of the arts to control all this activity; that would be almost impossible. Development in the arts therefore is the outcome of the sum of the activity and invention of all of the participants. It is characteristically a “bottom-up” phenomenon, moving in small increments, becoming ever more complex, cumulatively preparing for an occasional “gateway event”, a significant step in cultural evolution, sometimes introducing some “emergent” phenomenon not previously conceived – a new artistic style, for instance.

Much of the research into complex adaptive systems uses computer simulations, a scientific tool capable for the first time of capturing the interactions of many causal agents, quickly processing millions of calculations in complex mathematical problems or compressing in time representations of the slow moving processes of biological evolution. (Many of these simulation processes have been adapted by artists for the production of art on computers.) The outcomes of some of these experiments are astonishing. One, of special interest to this study, reveals a curious and beautiful phenomenon at a very precise place between order and chaos as represented on the computer screen. Its discoverer hypothesises that the “edge of chaos” has real-world correlates, and is in fact the place where life and consciousness emerge. I conjecture that artistic works, as the products of the minds of beings living on the edge of chaos, are therefore themselves on the edge of chaos. This could be inferred from the phenomenon of artistic style: the ordering of the elements of an art form according to a specific set of rules to achieve a specific type of effect. The execution of an art work within a given style must achieve this order but, to maintain the interest of the audience – minds on the edge of chaos – must somehow dip into disorder, must tip off towards chaos but then reclaim the edge, in the process bringing a new order to the chaotic elements encountered.

In even more condensed summary, then, the concept of the arts as a system of complex adaptive systems draws our attention to an arts ecology of self-organising, independent artists and arts bodies freely cooperating, competing and evolving new hierarchies of concepts and structures in a continuing and surprising way. The processes of cultural evolution and learning can be seen to be at play in deciding the course of development of arts and arts organisations. The theory of the edge of chaos has the potential to show a relatedness between fundamental aspects of human existence and its expression through works of art, and to explain the continuing evolution of art in ordering that which previously was disordered.

Using as the basis for speculation the theory of complex adaptive systems and particularly its formulations about the evolutionary process, we put forward the following possibilities:

  • Among the conditions for the most rapid and powerful evolution of an arts culture are a non-equilibrium environment of rich and diverse inputs, permitting the bottom-up self-organising emergence of arts activity
  • Both bottom-up and top-down organisation can be effective; the outcomes of bottom-up organisation seem to draw more people into the arts development process, to be more diverse and creative, and more resilient in the longer term; top down organisation might be more efficient in producing more limited outcomes, but in some circumstances may actually choke off development
  • There are general conditions for rapid evolution but to achieve evolution of a particular character, it must be defined and rewarded by the environment and the environment can include the government and its interventions
  • Diversity of inputs is a general condition for evolution of other qualities, but may also be an end in itself. In some circumstances, too great a diversity could lead artists into a defensive narrow specialisation, or could lead to loss of identity and direction.
  • Like other qualities, the quality of excellence will emerge if demanded and rewarded by the environment. Because the criteria are culturally determined, there is a top-down aspect to the transmission of excellence, and the need to find a delicate balance between top-down and bottom-up
  • Innovative art will emerge through urgent needs for adaptation or exploitation of new niches. Diversity of input is especially important
  • The concept of coevolution (e.g. between artists and audiences) is a useful tool for analysis of the interactions within sectors of the arts world. In our main text, we show possible dangers of long-term support to innovation without sufficient regard for feed-back into the mainstream
  • It may be more fruitful to look to individuals and small organisations for innovation, than to the major arts organisations
  • Other desired outcomes can be similarly encouraged through the mechanisms of cultural evolution
  • The culture offers niches of opportunity for new arts developments, but the shape of these niches is only loosely predetermined. Their ultimate shape depends on the nature of the program that fills them. The best outcome will result from a flexible adaptation between program and environment rather than rigid prescription by the programmer
  • Government interventions may usually be enabling, but if misconceived may hinder achievement of the best outcomes
  • The most effective intervention by government generally will have found a delicate balance between prescription and empowerment.

– Richard Letts: The Arts on the Edge of Chaos. Unpublished manuscript, 1995.

Some of these points need further explanation to be understood adequately. We would be happy to provide more material on request.


Richard Letts

Contributions from Ray Argall, Paul Bodlovich, Tony Breese, Mary Jo Capps, Helen Colman, Julie Dyson, Sebastian Flynn, Lynn Gailey, Catherine Haridy, Ian Harvey, Rich Heath, Hans Hoegh-Guldberg, Robyn Holmes, Jehan Kanga, Prof Julian Knowles, Dr Helen Lancaster, Jane Law, Alex Masso, Beverley McAlister, Nick O’Byrne, Dean Ormston, Prof Huib Schippers, Nathan Shepherd, Michael Smellie, Mandy Stefanakis, Andrew Stone, Carolina Triana, Dr David Worrall

Date: October 2011


  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19↩︎
  2. <Articles 22 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in Article 15 of the ”United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the UNESCO Recommendation on Participation by the People at Large in Cultural Life and their Contribution to It.”↩︎
  3. The Australian government has recently endorsed the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.↩︎
  4. Refer also to the Declaration on Cultural Diversity, Council of Europe, 2000; the Cotonou Declaration on cultural diversity, International Organization of the Francophonie, 2001; the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, 2001, the UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, 2005.↩︎
  5. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 26. The article included the statement ‘Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality…’ It follows that education must include the arts and culture.↩︎
  6. Berne Convention, 1935, signed by Australia in 2000.↩︎
  7. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 23.3 gives this right to every person.↩︎
  8. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19. The same article states the right to freedom of expression and to give and receive information.↩︎
  9. See especially para 2.2 at↩︎
  10. UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Also the Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Co-operation.↩︎
  11. The Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Also, UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, to which Australia so far is not a signatory.↩︎
  12. (1980). Consider also the 1997 commentary on the lack of action by governments in implementing the Recommendations.↩︎
  13. MCA has observations on this particular issue. However, the main point here is about the need to acknowledge such successes in the cultural area, to work to understand how they have been achieved, to avoid interventions that may interfere with further success, to support further success and to transfer and adapt the methods to other areas of activity. This is all, in a way, obvious, but it is not necessarily what we would do in Australia. We are just as likely to find ways to bring a successful program down. For instance, “That program has been very successful. It doesn’t need any more support. It can stand on its own two feet now.” – an opinion possibly formed more from prejudice than analysis. The example is invented, but does it not somehow feel familiar?↩︎
  14. Chapter 8, ”Att ta sig ton – om svensk musikexport 1974-1999 (Ds 1999:28) (Tuning In – Swedish Music Exports 1974-1999”). Expertgruppen för studier i offentlig ekonomi (ESO), an independent think tank in the Ministry for Finance. An appendix gives a summary in English.↩︎
  15. A literature survey or research project to show how creativity fostered through arts education can be transferred to non-arts disciplines could be valuable for both pedagogy and advocacy.↩︎
  16. ‘The development of increasingly complex skills builds upon the circuits and skills that were formed earlier. It is through this process that early experiences create the foundation for learning, behaviour, physical and mental health. The stronger the foundation in the early years, the more likely it is that there will be positive outcomes for children. Healthy brain development is important not just for cognitive skills and future academic achievement but also for physical, social and emotional development.’” National Early Childhood Development Strategy, Investing in the Early Years. p.31”↩︎
  23. Magic of Music.↩︎
  24. National Youth Affairs Research Scheme. (2005). SCOPING STUDY OF YOUTH POLICY PRIORITIES AND DIRECTIONS. National Youth Affairs Research Scheme.↩︎
  25. DEEWR. (2009). Office For Youth. Retrieved December 26, 2009, from↩︎
  26. The JB Seed is a good example of a philanthropic initiative suitable to young artists. There are also youth small grants programs in some states. There is probably a lot more that could be done with a relatively small pot of money.↩︎
  27. Australia Council. (2006, November). Buzz 2006 round 2 – Assessment Report. Retrieved January 6, 2010, from Australia Council:↩︎
  28. Australia Council. (2009, December). ArtStart December 2009. Retrieved January 6, 2010, from↩︎
  29. The December 2009 ArtStart Report states that “it was noted that several applicants requested primary funds for discrete project funding and did not articulate viable strategies to achieve long term aims or career sustainability”. The program has a career development focus which is welcome, but it does not support small projects which cannot be justified within a 5-year business plan, limiting the scope to support innovative small projects.↩︎
  30. National Recording Project for Indigenous Performance in Australia,↩︎
  31. ”Our Culture, Our Future, ” 1999 Author: Terri Janke, © Michael Frankel & Associates, Solicitors↩︎
  32. ”Beyond Guarding Ground, ”Terri Janke, 2009↩︎
  33. Indigenous Contemporary Music Action Plan 2008,↩︎
  34. See Context > Sector Overview then relevant papers.↩︎
  38. Live Performance Australia 2010↩︎

Dr Richard Letts AM is the founder and Director of The Music Trust, founder and former Executive Director of the Music Council of Australia (now Music Australia) and Past President of the International Music Council. He has held senior positions in music and culture in Australia and the United States, advocated for music and music education, conducted research, written policy documents, edited four periodicals, published four books and hundreds of articles.

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