Since the creation of the Australia Council in 1968, Council has developed policies, strategies and programs which aim to ensure that opportunities to enjoy and participate in the arts are not constrained by an individual’s background or life circumstances. The Council is committed to ensuring that the wealth of artistic and cultural skills, experience and resources resulting from Australia’s diversity are given the opportunity to develop, flourish and contribute to a distinctly Australian style of artistic excellence and innovation. Over time the Council has introduced a range of policies and strategies focusing on specific demographics and other identity markers.
We regularly reflect on how these diverse strategies, policies and initiatives are relevant and effective in a 21st century context, and how they intersect with the multiplicity of identities across our nation. In 2007 the Council announced our Cultural Engagement Framework (CEF), aimed at ensuring equity of access to our grants and initiatives. This Framework was grounded in a commitment to providing all Australians with the opportunity to enjoy and participate in the arts and to supporting artistic excellence.
The Australia Council’s focus on diversity was reaffirmed within the functions of the Australia Council Act 2013, including a function to support Australian arts practice that reflects the diversity of Australia. Further development of the CEF was undertaken through the significant reform work in 2014-15.
In 2016 the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the CEF, including updating the priority areas to include a focus on older people. The Council has also refreshed the Diversity Team – a group within the organisation that guides the planning and monitoring of strategies to embed the CEF across every aspect of the Council.