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National Cultural Policy – response to Government


21 March 2013

Snapshot of portion of cover of the National Cultural Policy.

The news about the new National Cultural Policy’s effects on Deaf and disabled artists and audiences has been making its way around the disability arts community and social media.

If you haven’t seen this information yet, click here to read our media release.

You can read the full Policy on the Creative Australia website: or download page 24 of the executive summary here, to see the text being referenced.

And see what our interstate friends are saying here: and what Deaf Arts Network have said about it here

In short, there is no funding allocated for the National Arts and Disability Strategy. To add to the problem, the policy clearly does not support an appropriate attitude to our sector, calling for a culture of tolerance towards people with a disability, rather than embracing the rich cultural diversity and artistic practice that disabled arts has proven to add to the arts world.

Please join us (and Arts Access Australia and the arts and disability sector) in delivering a strong and unified message to the Commonwealth Government that this is unacceptable.

Please forward the letter below to Minister Simon Crean at and to your local federal members of parliament, to demonstrate a shared commitment to equality, access and the celebration of the unique contribution of artists with a disability to Australia’s cultural life.

You can find your local member by visiting

We would also appreciate it if you could cc so that they can gauge your level of response and support for this important issue.

(Copy and paste the following letter into your email. Remember to insert your details at the bottom and cc to

Dear (insert name of minister or local member)

I welcomed the release of the National Cultural Policy, Creative Australia last week. However, I am writing to share with you my concern that the needs of the 4.2 million Australians with disability have not been adequately addressed. In particular, I am dismayed by the fact that the policy refers to the need for tolerance of people with disability, rather than celebrating the quality of work produced by artists with a disability across Australia and their contribution to the Australian arts industries.

Firstly, I call on the Government to make a formal apology to Australians with disability for promoting tolerance rather than equity in a policy designed for all Australians.

Secondly, I call on the Government to acknowledge the important role people with disability have to play in Australia’s arts and cultural life.

Thirdly, I call on the Government to make the $24 million investment over four years required to fully implement the National Arts and Disability Strategy.

Finally, I call on the Government to tell Australians with disability how organisations funded under Creative Australia will be supported to ensure their programs and services are accessible to people with disability.

By doing so, the Australian Government will demonstrate their true commitment to ensuring people with disability have full and equal access to arts and culture in Australia. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,