Western Australia (WA) is a wonderfully unique State. It has its own history and character shaped by its location, land and people. Its capital city is undoubtedly one of the most liveable in the world. Its diverse regional and remote areas
have distinctive cultures and natural beauty that attract people from across the globe and give the State its individual identity. WA is home to world class creative talent, many of whose work has graced major international institutions,
performed in the best venues around the world and won the most significant international awards from the Oscars in Hollywood to the Prix Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. The State’s future success will depend upon how we harness
and grow what is great about it.
This success is rooted in deep cultural traditions. From Murujuga, with one of the largest, densest and most diverse collections of rock art on earth and the oldest images of the human face, to the Fremantle Sound, to Shaun Tan’s universally
acclaimed views of the world, we offer something authentic, original and meaningful to our community and the visitors to it.
Australian cultural and heritage tourism outpaces overall tourism growth. Visitors want to experience something remarkable. They are demanding more Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences and engagement with our unique local histories, culture and
heritage. We offer something very special in Western Australia and this presents untapped opportunities for our State.
How we make the most of these opportunities is dependent on how we grow our society and economy. There is enormous potential for an exploding cultural and creative economy in Western Australia that will help us diversify our economy while meeting
the challenges of technological advancement and change. Creative industries and skill sets will bring the jobs of the future. The creative output we will produce will attract visitors and strengthen community relationships. Few industries can
achieve these goals simultaneously.
To maximise this potential WA will need to plan its cultural and creative future. We will need well-planned cultural infrastructure if we’re to continue to be a competitive 21st century economy. We need to be adaptive and we need to work proactively
with artists, creatives, cultural workers, the private sector, local government, industry and cross-government agencies to deliver the right regulatory framework, planning structures, design and investments to secure the future of the State.
Retaining spaces for cultural infrastructure that are affordable and appropriate for creativity and culture is increasingly challenging. Equally, modifying, maintaining and improving the spaces we have will offer cost effective solutions.
The costs of infrastructure delivery, maintenance and staffing in regional and remote locations bring ongoing challenges, as does building and maintaining digital and physical connectivity across the State.
However, the benefits gained by connecting regional and remote creatives to international markets and improving access to culture and creativity for all communities across the State are significant.
Strategic and holistic planning with all stakeholders is the start of effective action. There is no single solution or one-size-fits-all approach. As we continue to grow the State’s cultural and creative economy, we will increase pressure
on existing cultural infrastructure and require new, fit-for-purpose cultural infrastructure.
This Framework establishes the process for how we will achieve this.
By 2030+ we want WA to be the most culturally engaged State in Australia—with cultural infrastructure that celebrates our rich cultural diversity and creative talent, the State recognised as a major hub for technical innovation and the creative
industries, and WA known as one of the most artistic and inspiring places in the world.
Cultural infrastructure includes the buildings, places, spaces, people and technology necessary for arts and cultural education, creation, production, engagement, collaboration, ceremony, preservation, conservation, interpretation, sharing
Cultural infrastructure includes physical infrastructure like our performing arts centres, music venues, film and television studios, galleries, collections and digital technology. Integral to these spaces are the staff, volunteers
and digital networks required to operate them.
Cultural infrastructure supports and grows WA’s creativity, tangible and intangible culture, and cultural heritage. While tangible culture could be a painting or performance, intangible culture could be a story, songline1 or practised tradition. ‘Intangible cultural heritage’ means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills … transmitted from generation to generation.2
Cultural infrastructure exists at the nexus between physical assets and spaces with people and technology. This Framework is concerned with all of these things.
It is important that the strategy (Framework) acknowledges that cultural infrastructure doesn’t just facilitate culture but is part of our culture too.’ (key stakeholder consultation)
The WA Cultural Infrastructure Framework 2030+ (the Framework) was informed by analysis of stakeholder consultations; global trends, best practice and sustainable development goals; local strategies and planning frameworks; and government
WA’s first cultural infrastructure framework was developed through key stakeholder consultation between 2018 and 2019. This is a timely period for cultural infrastructure in Australia and WA. In 2019 Infrastructure Australia included
arts and cultural infrastructure – and other social infrastructure – in the Australian Infrastructure Audit for
the first time.
Also, in 2019 Infrastructure WA was established. Infrastructure WA is a statutory authority with a mandate to provide assistance to the State Government on infrastructure matters, assist in enhancing efficiency and effectiveness, and sound
decision making in relation to infrastructure planning. Infrastructure WA has commenced consultation to develop WA’s first 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy, which will identify infrastructure needs and priorities to support
WA’s growing population. Infrastructure WA will also advise government on future infrastructure proposals prior to a final investment decision being made and will coordinate WA’s submissions to Infrastructure Australia for
proposals seeking Commonwealth funding.
Key stakeholder consultation on this Framework included interviews in the Kimberley, Mid-West, and Perth, workshops in the Pilbara and Perth, four live webinars, an online survey engaging stakeholders across the State and written submissions.
Overall, there were over 480 key stakeholder engagements with the Framework.
For further details of the consultation process, see Appendix A – What informed the Framework.
This Framework introduces a suite of documents that form the Cultural Infrastructure Toolkit (Toolkit). These documents will be iterative, updated periodically, and available on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
(DLGSC) website. The Toolkit can become a resource to assist State and local governments and decision makers to assess cultural infrastructure needs and priorities.
The initial launch of the Toolkit incorporates the following:
More documents will be added over time to ensure the Toolkit is comprehensive and current.
Successful implementation of the Framework can only be achieved through collaboration and partnerships across all tiers of government, the cultural and creative sector, investors, developers, planners, architects, and local communities.
To view the full content of the Western Australian Cultural Infrastructure Framework 2030+, please download the publication.
1 Songlines have been described as “the tracks of the ancestral beings of the … Aboriginal creation law, recounted in song and story.” James, D (2013). Connecting Cultures and Continents: the Heritage of
Routes and Journeys, Signposted by Song: cultural routes of the Australian desert, Historic Environment, 25(3). Retrieved from: https://www.academia.edu/36084910/CONNECTING_CULTURES_AND_CONTINENTS_THE_HERITAGE_OF_ROUTES_AND_JOURNEYS_Signposted_by_Song_cultural_routes_of_the_Australian_desert
2 United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (n.d.). What is Intangible Cultural Heritage? - intangible heritage - Culture Sector - UNESCO. Retrieved July 30, 2018, from https://ich.unesco.org/en/what-is-intangible-heritage-00003
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