This analysis examined state and territory government plans and policies to determine which, if any, provided direction for local government and other organisations working directly with communities. Creative industries strategies such as those developed by Victoria and Tasmania seemed be the most outward facing and relevant for local government. The ‘industry’ approach seemed to result in more specific information about partnerships with governing bodies and private entities (as well as the subsequent aims and investments involved). Overall, however, our finding is that most policies and plans are primarily concerned with directing the activity of the relevant state-level agencies, and do not offer a direction or suggest a desired future for the whole state that other agencies, including local government could contribute to.
A number of broad themes were apparent in all documents. These include increased access and participation, the importance of engaging with Indigenous communities, support for cultural and linguistic diversity, the creation of employment opportunities and the reinvigoration of infrastructure. Similarly, consideration of increasing pressure of population growth and cross-agency partnerships with such bodies as state health, tourism and education departments were mentioned frequently, although a varying degree of detail was provided. In some cases, these details are denoted more specifically in the state or territory’s accompanying strategic plan than in the policy or strategy itself.
The majority of the policies or strategies provide information as to the developmental processes involved prior to release. These include: consultation with arts and cultural professionals, professionals from other governmental departments, workers in the private sector and members of the public; oversight by taskforce; public survey; state-wide stakeholder meetings; online community forums; and the use of social media interaction. In a number of cases, the findings from these processes have been collated into consultation reports and made available on the state agencies’ websites.
Almost all documents state that evaluative measures will be used to assess the success of implementation, however details differ greatly. Some documents provide detailed success indicators that indicate the ‘desired futures’ of the work, while others merely state that measures such as ‘key performance indicators’ will be in place for evaluating actions.