Strengthening the creative industries ecology by building capacity and unlocking opportunities to reach audiences and markets.

The Taskforce recommends a suite of initiatives to increase sector growth and sustainability by strengthening cultural and creative organisations; accelerating business and entrepreneurial growth; increasing resource sharing and collaboration; and enhancing management and technical skills and innovation.

A. The sustainability of cultural organisations of all sizes across the State should be improved.

The Taskforce recommends:

Initiative 8.

Reinstating indexation as part of ongoing arrangements with Government-funded cultural organisations. In making a recommendation entailing substantial funding, the Taskforce notes that cultural organisations have been required to absorb rising wage and operational costs in recent years – and that in this report, there are expectations for larger organisations to play a more active role in strengthening the State’s creative ecology.

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Initiative 9.

Providing incentives for cultural and creative organisations to offer professional placements, on-the-job training, fellowships and /or secondments for the benefit of smaller organisations and vice versa.

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Initiative 10.

Incentivising greater collaboration and sharing of content, resources and expertise within and across different parts of the sector. For example, companies in film, television and games could be encouraged to collaborate so that capability, business and commercialisation models, and different content distribution strategies, can be shared and improved.

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Initiative 11.

Retain and secure new major cultural and creative industry partnerships, events and activities for Victoria to build business opportunities, a more reliable pipeline of work and facilitate connections and networking.

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Initiative 12.

Reorienting Victoria’s competition and award programs in line with the goals of the cultural and creative industries strategy – particularly in respect to ambitious work. These would include the Premier’s Literary Awards, Victorian Indigenous Arts Awards and Premier’s Design Awards.

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B. Acceleration of more entrepreneurial cultural and creative businesses and organisations.

The Taskforce recommends:

Initiative 13.

Broadening access to accelerator programs for cultural and creative entrepreneurs on a statewide basis to develop more entrepreneurial, cultural and creative businesses and organisations. Accelerator programs should be encouraged to focus on creative industries and to support experimentation with new technology, new ways to develop and distribute content and new business, funding and investment models. These should draw on the work of the Victorian Startup Initiative and also potentially Social Traders Australia, which is focused on social enterprises and is based in Victoria.

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Initiative 14.

Developing an enterprise funding model, particularly for screen businesses, that builds long-term capability and structure and supports a shift from project-based operations to more sustainable business models.

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Initiative 15.

Reducing barriers to access local content from different creative industries and art forms in order to better support local content and businesses. Music, for example, could be supported by developing a database of Victorian musicians and composers to enable music directors of fashion festivals, television productions, games and film to more easily source Victorian talent.

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Initiative 16.

Building the commercial capability of the Victorian cultural and creative workforce through connecting experienced and skilled business advisers on a pro bono, short-term basis with creative organisations to advise on management issues. Skilled participants should include a mix of provocative and visionary thinkers and astute business advisers to meet a range of needs among creative organisations.

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Initiative 17.

Reforming current programs, including Organisations Investment Program and VicArts Grants, ensuring that funding remains available to those parts of the cultural and creative industries sector that most need it, and to:

a. minimise the administrative and reporting burden on applicants

b. strike the right balance between terms of funding and encouraging sustainability and creative renewal

c. respond to changes in the Commonwealth Government’s arts funding.

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C. Unlock and activate more spaces for artists and creative practitioners.

Initiative 18.

In partnership with relevant organisations, commission a Precincts Director to activate creative spaces across the State, including the Melbourne Arts Precinct, to create more opportunities for smaller creative organisations to access space for producing, performing and rehearsing; and to facilitate sharing of expertise, resources and equipment.

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Initiative 19.

Activate or reactivate suitable co-working spaces or hubs across the State so as to reduce operating costs, improve facilities and services and foster collaboration across disciplines and sectors, as with the Collingwood arts precinct. This could include incentives for holders of under-utilised spaces and assets, and making better connections

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Initiative 20.

Develop a statewide creative industries infrastructure investment plan that incorporates activation and access as critical design elements. During the consultation process, the Taskforce became aware of a number of significant infrastructure initiatives proposed or under consideration. In most cases, these projects are complex and require in-depth assessment beyond the role and capacity of the Taskforce to examine. As it was understood that the Government would continue to investigate these potential initiatives, the Taskforce focused its efforts on broader questions and did not pursue these further.

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D. Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Plan.

Initiative 21.

Develop and support an Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Plan that seeks to develop, showcase and promote Victoria’s unique Indigenous cultural products across all art forms. This recommendation is designed to align with the significant Indigenous cultural industries work being undertaken in parallel with, and in addition to, the Taskforce’s work. The Taskforce suggests that the Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Plan addresses all the specific outcomes recommended in this report.

It should aim to broaden and deepen skills, improve outcomes for practitioners and expand production of, and engagement with, Indigenous content. The plan should consider:

a. the development of specific Indigenous creative spaces

b. opportunities that specifically incubate, grow and support Indigenous practitioners including professional development grants, fellowships, mentoring and residencies

c. incentives for cultural and creative organisations to develop and implement Indigenous employment strategies

d. increasing the visibility and recognition of Victorian Indigenous creative talent through award programs

e. nurturing creative talent in Indigenous young people through incentives such as higher education scholarships and longer term career pathways

f. an Indigenous multi-arts platform festival.

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