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Investing in our Creative State

With the 2017-18 Victorian Budget unveiled this month I am proud that our government is continuing to invest in our creative industries, our state-wide creative and cultural offering and the future of our creative state.

The budget includes new funding totalling $106.6 million to strengthen Victoria’s cultural infrastructure, deliver an array of programs, festivals and events, offer new opportunities for local creatives and audiences, and continue to build our reputation as a globally-engaged creative and cultural centre.

Over the last three state budgets, we’ve injected more than $460 million into the portfolio – both for new activities and infrastructure and to continue or expand successful programs – on top of Creative Victoria’s ongoing base funding.

This also includes support for the rollout of Creative State, Victoria’s first creative industries strategy. In the year since we launched this strategy a huge amount of work has been done to bring it to life and deliver new opportunities across the state, and across the spectrum of creative sectors.

Creative State takes a whole-of-state, whole-of-ecosystem approach, with a strong bias toward strengthening the small-to-medium and independent players that drive all of all our creative sectors.

To date, we have:
· Boosted the Organisations Investment Program, a critical program for small to medium arts and cultural organisations, providing funding certainty for an extended term of four years and introduced a diverse cohort of new organisations;
· Increased support for international activities for small to medium organisations and delivered a number of inbound and outbound trade missions across the arts, digital games, design and fashion sectors;
· Doubled the size of the Marketing Innovation Fund to help small to medium organisations reach new audiences or markets, build brand awareness and increase their earned revenue;
· Kicked off planning for the first Regional Centre for Culture program to be held in Bendigo and the surrounding region in 2018;
· Introduced a new Creative Suburbs program to boost creative and cultural opportunities in outer-metro communities and fill a longstanding gap in the government arts funding ;
· Piloted a virtual creative residencies in schools program to provide meaningful arts learning experiences to kids in remote schools.
· Launched new Film Victoria screen business development programs and opportunities for women in the film, television and games sectors;
· Launched a new Victorian public design program and delivered a refreshed Melbourne Design Week;
· Grown Melbourne International Games Week into a major international fixture for one of the fastest growing global creative industries.

And much more. We will be publishing a full progress report in the coming weeks.

The next cabs of the rank will include a new Landmark Works program, to support creative works of ambition and scale that would be beyond the capacity of existing funding programs; the Creators Fund which will support creative practitioners to undertake sustained periods of creative and career development, and Business Accelerators and Talent Development to support the growth of creative people and enterprises.

I also look forward to discussing and envisioning where we go next at the first Creative State Summit on 29-30 June.

I would like to thank each member of the Creative State Advisory Board for stepping up and guiding the implementation of the strategy, their advice and sector insights are invaluable, with Victoria’s creative offering all the more strong for their contributions.

Above all I’d like to thank everyone who works in Victoria’s creative industries. Whether you are an independent practitioner or you work in a business or organisation of any size, you are part of something much larger – and we are proud to back you.

Our investment in Victoria’s arts and creativity continues to pay off in spades. Not just in the $23 billion contribution our creative industries make to the Victorian economy each year, or the $1 billion worth of cultural tourism our offering attracts, but in innumerable social and cultural dividends.

There is plenty more for us to do, and I look forward to working together to shape our creative state.