Reading and books are vital to modern Australia: they make the nation smarter and healthier, and ensure we understand ourselves and the world. In turn, our stories offer others the opportunity to know us. Australian stories, books, learning materials, and high levels of reading participation are integral to our success as a modern democracy:
The Australian Government is currently developing a new National Cultural Policy for the decade ahead. Those involved in or interested in our nation’s arts, entertainment and cultural sector has been encouraged to have their say.
Ahead of the release of the new Cultural Policy, the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has released an agenda of the submissions.
“Of the approximately 1,022 submissions made publicly available – over 200 private submissions are not included in this count – around 152 (approximately 14%) were from, or advocated for, the literary sector.”
In an article reproduced from the ASA in Books and Publishing November 15th 2022
“The main theme of these submissions was the desperate situation of authors and illustrators in trying to establish sustainable careers. Literature, it is clear, has been underdone and overlooked in arts policy for too long, which has contributed to the worsening financial uncertainties for our creators.”
The most important outcome of a new Cultural Policy is that Australia remains a nation of readers. A strategic approach to the development of literature, the book industry and reading must be included. Australia Council funding for literature has fallen by 40% in the past decade; it is indicative of a need for a more coordinated approach to policy.
From the ASA agenda of submissions – ‘For a long time, we’ve taken our literature for granted. To a certain extent, we’ve taken a literate population for granted. But if we value literacy, imagination, logical thinking and empathy – if we believe these things don’t just enrich individual lives but enrich every human pursuit from science to social work, and promote a tolerant, caring, inventive society – then for the sake of the future we’ll urgently put literature – books and reading – back on the agenda.’ Jennifer Rowe AC (pen name Emily Rodda)
It’s a time of great change in the book industry, and in the culture of Australia. The Government has committed to delivering a new National Cultural Policy to establish a diverse, vibrant and sustainable arts, entertainment and cultural sector now and into the future. Australia’s writers, publishers, booksellers, and librarians have asked to be supported in continuing their vital work in the sharing of our stories. We look forward to the release of the new National Cultural Policy.