Australia is a robust democracy. It is governed by the rule of law and the Australian Government actively promotes adherence to the global rules-based system.
Australia is a developed, advanced economy that operates as part of a globalised world and values the free flow of information, ideas and products. Our nation is digitally connected, vibrant and diverse.
We celebrate the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia, the world’s oldest continuous living cultures, and we are the most successful multicultural society in the world.
Cultural diversity is one of Australia’s greatest assets. It positively contributes to social, economic and cultural outcomes for the nation and is embedded across various policies and programs implemented across three levels of government.
In 2016-17, cultural expenditure across all levels of Australian governments was A$6.12 billion.
The Australian Government invests A$1.3 billion in public and community broadcasting and over A$700 million per year in arts and culture activities that underpin Australia’s creative sector. This encompasses the performing arts, literature, screen and visual arts sectors, national collecting institutions, arts training and education, regional arts, Indigenous arts and languages, international repatriation of Indigenous ancestral remains and international engagement and cultural diplomacy.
Australian governments recognise investment in the creative sector pays substantial economic, social and cultural dividends and ensures Australians can develop the skills needed for the jobs of the future.
Cultural and creative industries make a significant contribution to the local, regional and national economy of Australia. Cultural and creative activity contributed approximately A$111.7 billion (equivalent to 6.4 per cent) to Australia’s GDP in 2016-17. Based on 2016 data there were 845,299 people employed in creative and cultural industries and occupations. Jobs in creative roles are also growing at almost twice the rate of the total Australian workforce.
In Australia, policies and programs that protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions are underpinned by robust legislation, policy and mechanisms for review across Australia’s three levels of government.
At the federal level, the Australian Government undertakes a coordinated approach across its portfolios, in consultation with other government and civil society stakeholders, in developing, implementing and reviewing its policies and programs.
Cultural policies are underpinned by Australia’s national policies to address issues such as gender equality, disability access, Indigenous disadvantage, promoting innovation and advancing human rights and the sustainable development goals globally.
At the international level, the Australian Government and state and territory governments are committed to building links with other nations through arts and cultural engagement, such as through formal bilateral arrangements and multilateral fora and through international arts and culture grants programs.
Australia’s aid program further implements the principles of the Convention by contributing to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. Australia’s foreign and national cultural policies have a strong emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region and on promoting gender equality, empowerment for Indigenous peoples and capacity development in the Pacific.