MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
11 November 1999
Launch of International Cultural Promotion Strategy
I have launched a major strategy to promote Australia's artistic and cultural excellence internationally.
The three-year strategy, Promoting Australia's Culture Abroad, was developed by the Australia International Cultural Council which I established in February 1998. The council draws together leaders from government, the arts community and business with a common interest in more effective promotion of Australian arts.
The new strategy has two key aims: to project, through the arts, a positive image of Australia which advances our foreign and trade policy interests; and, to promote and enhance the export of Australian cultural products.
The promotion of a distinct contemporary image of Australian culture is an important element of the Government's international agenda. Foreign public recognition of Australia's unique cultural heritage provides a basis for the pursuit of Australia's foreign and trade policy objectives.
Despite a strong and increasing international interest in Australian cultural pursuits, international perceptions of Australia are still all too often limited to its scenic attractions and unique flora and fauna. Through the arts and in other ways, we can project a much broader image of modern Australia, particularly as an innovative, culturally diverse and sophisticated nation. During the next three years, Australia will have an unprecedented opportunity to build and reinforce its international profile through major events such as the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the Centenary of Federation and participation in the Hanover Expo.
There is also significant potential for the growth of Australia's cultural exports. In 1998, total exports of cultural goods and services were valued at $650 million. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with Austrade, is working in a number of ways to better promote our cultural exports. In particular, we are working with industry to identify market access barriers to our arts exports and increase our efforts to promote cultural exports, through Austrade's Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) Scheme.
This strategy is just the beginning of a sustained effort to put Australia permanently on the global cultural stage. The initial focus for the strategy is on planning and capacity building. Activities will be directed towards building on the momentum on the Sydney 2000 Games and Australia's celebrations at home and overseas of the Centenary of Federation in 2001. The latter phase of the Strategy will focus on evaluation, which is crucial for future planning.
Ministerial - Innes Willox (02) 6277 7500
Departmental - Mark Croxford (02) 6261 1555
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