Crowds watching performers at Castlemaine State Festival

Castlemaine State Festival opening night 2013. Photo: Michael Nix

For the first time, the Victorian Government is addressing creative industries under one portfolio. This will break down silos, drive increased collaboration and maximise the collective cultural, social and economic potential of Victoria's creative industries. 

There are sound reasons for considering a broad set of creative industries together. They all share parts of the same ecosystem, which provide skills and training, personal and professional development, financial and promotional support, and collaboration. There is strategic value in government looking at the issues that cross between sectors and structuring support to improve the overall ecosystem, rather than just focusing on each sector independently. More importantly, creative practice is increasingly taking place across previously considered distinct areas of cultural and creative activity. Our policy framework and actions need to catch up with this reality. 

This means a new approach to creativity is needed. What it does not mean is that individual creatives should be regarded as having the same motivations, challenges and needs as large corporations. Nor does it mean that producing artwork is to be measured solely against business objectives, although its economic value must be clearly recognised. 

Considering the more and less commercial parts of the creative spectrum together better recognises the inter-relations and value of the whole. It provides for more informed treatment of individuals, businesses, institutions and organisations in the sector, and the ways they relate. It will achieve a greater critical mass of expertise, value, investment and profile. It adds to the reasons why government needs to take a policy lead, pointing to the many ways our creative industries contribute to our community. 

In Creative Victoria, the government has established an entity to pursue a more integrated approach, combining actions and expertise across arts and cultural disciplines and integrating them with Victoria's leading screen and design industries. Creative Victoria is part of the government's main business department – Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources – providing the context for a stronger business, tourism and economic focus. 

Critical to Creative Victoria's success will be its capacity to work across government to strengthen collaboration and champion Victorian creative products, services and capabilities. There are many interactions between government and the creative industries. In some cases, this is to procure a product or service while, in others, there is collaboration on service design or delivery. The creative industries can also address other government priorities, for example objectives in education, health and justice, tourism and regional development. 

Creative State provides a means to spread the impact of the creative industries further. It focuses on five interconnected areas and invests in 40 new actions to deliver increased cultural, social and economic benefits for Victorians. 

Victoria is the fastest growing state in the country, creating new demand for creative products and services