Creative Victoria Bill 2016

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — It is indeed a pleasure to rise this afternoon to speak on the Creative Victoria Bill 2016. This bill builds on the exceptional work of the Minister for Creative Industries in launching in May this year the document Creative State — Victoria’s First Creative Industries Strategy 2016–2020.

I cannot launch into the main part of my contribution without commenting on the input to the debate in this chamber given by the shadow minister for arts and culture. I have to admit that I was sitting there thinking, ‘What would Margaret and David say about that performance?’. I am a bit of a fan of At the Movies. David is a pretty harsh marker, but I think he would have been sitting there thinking, ‘What the heck did all that mean?’. I think he would be struggling to give it one star. My husband actually says, ‘You’re more like Margaret than David when it comes to film choice’, but I even think Margaret would be saying, ‘Oh David! On this occasion you are right. It was barely a one-star performance’.

The shadow minister failed to see that not only is this bill the result of an incredible commitment by the government, in consultation with more than 10 000 people, to bring a bill to the house that updates legislation to put the arts at the forefront of government decision-making but also that it provides an incredible legislative environment for the flourishing of the arts in Victoria.

The shadow minister said that government members failed to talk about jobs in this space. If you go and look at the Creative Victoria Bill 2016, you see that Creative Victoria is actually located in the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. Creative Victoria is about acknowledging the value of people who do creative things and saying that they should be rewarded and be well regarded. When they need it they should have the support of government and other sectors, including the philanthropic sector, that want to get behind them and make sure that Victoria’s reputation as the cultural capital of Australia is recognised and promoted. I think the minister actually says it very well in the foreword of Creative State. He says:

Creativity and cultural activity enriches our human condition. It defines who we are. It changes and reshapes our world. It inspires us, helps us build stronger, more cohesive communities. It increasingly drives new jobs and innovation. Creative and cultural industries —

and I really love this —

can be life affirming, life changing and lifesaving.

The minister is committed to growing the creative industries portfolio into something that is more than a jobs creation package. It is about creating the vitality, the environment and the ecosystem that will drive creative people to put their hands up and say, ‘I will give it a go’.

I would like to say to the shadow minister that when she is next talking to Senator Birmingham or Senator Fifield, she should have a talk to them about how they should be providing vocational education and training help and supporting the Victorian certificate of advanced learning sector in providing pathways for our young people. In fact it should not just be about providing pathways only for young people. We should include mums returning to work who think, ‘I’m going to give this creative space a go and try to make a living out of it’ — or perhaps they could just have a little bit of fun in pursuing an endeavour they could not afford beforehand.

The coalition should get behind the Victorian government’s desire to make sure that students who want to study in the creative space are supported. Currently, if you look at the federal minister’s decision on this, the government has suggested that the eligibility for inclusion rests on courses being on the skills needs list of at least two states — that is a ridiculous criterion — and aligned with our national priorities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and agriculture. What is missing from that statement? The creative industries are missing from that statement. We need to have a creative Victoria, but we need to have a creative Victoria that has educational pathways to make sure that people who want to study in the arts and culture space have the same access to educational experience as other people who want to study science, technology and engineering.

Why is this important? The Minister for Creative Industries has identified it: it is life changing, it is life affirming and lifesaving in many ways. The member for Bayswater, the former minister, actually said it has taken a long time for this legislation to come to the house. Last time I looked she was the minister and she had an opportunity to deliver such a package. It is time, and we knew that this was needed, because when we were in opposition the present minister was actually out there talking to thousands of people in the sector. I am not referring to the people who somehow have got to the former minister and said that they were overlooked or not heard, but that is really hard to believe when you look at how many people have been consulted for the Creative Industries Bill and also the Creative State document. The Arts Victoria Act was passed in 1972, so the former minister is right — it is about time — but she had that time on her hands to do something about it and chose not to.

When people on this side of the house make election commitments, we actually think it is important to deliver on them. It may not be about the delivery of a school or a hospital which people are intensely interested in, but it is about delivering for sectors like the arts sector, the creative industries sector, which deserves our commitment, our esteem and our dedication. The creative industries portfolio is an important portfolio, and this bill is an important bill. It establishes an entity that will have a CEO that will be totally focused on making sure that the creative industries are well supported and expanded. Yes, we need to do this because it creates jobs, but lots of people will also benefit from this.

Here in Victoria we actually lead the way in making sure that not only does the creative sector create jobs but also involves everybody — including the community and business — in growing the enjoyment, the pride and the experience that you get from going to an art gallery, a fashion show, a games industry exhibition, a craft activity or a film. Victoria accounts for over half of Australia’s television drama production and half of Australia’s digital game sector. These are the new creative industries; they need government support and they need to be recognised.

I have a very interesting statistic. We often go down to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and see what is happening down there. The cultural collection that is in the art gallery is actually worth over $5 billion. It is an extraordinary collection. I read in the Saturday Age — I think it was two weeks ago in the review section — that the national gallery is developing the talents of local artists.

We have to pay tribute here to the late Lynne Kosky. She said that Melbourne should not only be the creative state, a place where arts, culture, books, plays and film are very highly valued, but also the design capital of Australia. I think that Victoria, and Melbourne especially, is very well positioned to be the design capital of the Southern Hemisphere. When you go to Scandinavian countries you see wonderful art galleries, wonderful precincts, artists and artisans beavering away in their shops and in their studios producing some amazing work. That is happening in Victoria as well. I was very pleased to see the NGV extending the range in its shop recently. You can actually go down to the NGV shop and buy a piece of jewellery, a piece of pottery, a silk scarf or whatever might be your predilection in beautiful things. It is a really strong focus on promoting Victorian design.

This is a terrific bill. Yes, it is about time, but it has taken this minister and this Labor government to deliver again on one of its election commitments. I have no doubt that Victoria will continue to thrive and be the creative state of Australia. I commend the bill to the house.