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April 30, 2024

ASA appears before Senate Inquiry into National Cultural Policy

On Tuesday 16 April ASA CEO Olivia Lanchester appeared before a Senate Inquiry into the National Cultural Policy, alongside other book industry organisations and the Australian Writer’s Guild. The Inquiry was launched by Senator Hanson-Young to ensure that this once in a generation policy was meeting the needs of the creative industries.

The ASA underscored the importance of Revive, which is the most significant government literature policy in decades, and the long overdue spotlight it shines on writers. We welcomed the modernisation of the lending right schemes, supported the government’s approach to standalone ICIP legislation and shared our excitement about the upcoming establishment of Writers Australia. 

Olivia Lanchester said, “As the submissions to the national cultural policy made clear, there are decades of damage to repair, and the investment in Writers Australia is a modest but very welcome first step. Our view is that the greatest crisis in the literary sector is the inability of authors to earn a living wage from their work. Nothing in the whole sector— publishing, bookselling, festivals, libraries—is possible without thriving authors. In our view, a real measure of success for Writers Australia will be its ability to deliver on one of the 10 guiding principles of Revive— sustainable, creative careers.”

Olivia also outlined areas of advocacy for the future, saying, “The ASA will continue to advocate for a minimum threshold of Australian authored content in schools and a national rollout of an authors in schools program. We also join our industry partners in calling for a national reading strategy. Lastly, we need government help to tackle some of the problems presented by the development and deployment of generative artificial intelligence, which poses both opportunities but also threats for the creative industries.”

The Environment and Communications References Committee is due to report on the Inquiry in June this year.