Creative State 2016-2020 was the Victorian Government's first ever creative industries strategy, backed with a $115 million investment.  It aimed to grow Victoria's creative and cultural industries and guide government investment in the creative industries sector over a four-year period from 2016 to 2020.

The strategy included 40 actions (programs, activities and initiatives) that were developed to benefit creative industries organisations and people who work in creative occupations, as well as audiences and the broader community.

It was a strong and coordinated commitment to grow the state's creative and cultural economy, then worth $23 billion, and reputation as a creative leader.

Taking a state-wide approach, it:

  • brought a coherent, whole-of-Victorian Government perspective to the creative industries
  • contributed to the Victorian Government's overarching economic objective to create a productive, competitive and sustainable Victorian economy by:
    • accelerating creative industries business development and export and job growth
    • stimulating innovation and investment beyond the creative industries, to improve productivity and economic performance
  • positioned the state as a significant international destination for culture, investment and talent
  • enabled other areas of government to use creative services to improve outcomes in areas such as education, health, regional development and justice
  • lowered barriers to engagement with arts, culture and creativity and increased social cohesion.

Creative State was informed by extensive sector consultation. Over 10,000 people contributed to this process, including individual practitioners, peak bodies, education institutions, government bodies, creative businesses, and arts and cultural organisations of all types and sizes.



The place we now call Victoria has been a creative hub for 1000s of years since our first people shaped the land with stories and art.

The State Library Victoria was one of the world's first public libraries, and the National Gallery of Victoria, opened in 1861, was Australia's first public art museum.

It was followed soon after by galleries in Ballarat, Bendigo Warrnambool and Geelong, expanding all over Victoria. In 1906, Victoria gave the world its first feature film. In 1982 Australia's first video game was made in Melbourne. Victorians also created plastic money, the KeepCup the ute, the baby capsule, and stack hats. Even ice cubes were invented here.

The Creative Industries contribute almost $23 billion to the Victorian economy each year. That's enough to rival the manufacturing industry and a lot more than construction and agriculture. What's more, the creative economy is growing at 4.1% per annum (2016), which has nearly doubled the rate of the rest of our economy. The Creative Industries fuel over 220,000 full time jobs, which is 8% of Victoria's employment sector, and attract around a billion dollars a year in cultural tourism.

But creativity is about more than just money. Creative projects enhance self esteem, keep us healthy, help us to learn and to understand different perspectives and to connect with each other. Creativity makes us happy. Did you know that more people watch live music in Melbourne than go to the footy? That more Victorians go to the cinema each year than on a car. And that 94% of Victorians get involved in creative experiences every year because creativity is an essential part of our story. Creativity is who we are, where we came from, and where we're going.

That's why Victoria is the Creative State.

Flagship initiatives for Creative State 2016-2020

Taking a state-wide, cross sector and whole of ecosystem approach to investing in Victoria's creative industries, many of the actions aimed to strengthen the creative and cultural industries.

Under the five actions areas there were significant actions to assist artistic career development, to initiate the production of major new work, to increase entrepreneurship and business skills and to increase international engagement and impact.

  • Backing creative talent ($6.35 million over four years) Creating more opportunities to produce and present great work
    • a major investment in Aboriginal arts and culture, to be delivered in partnership with Aboriginal business and community groups (Action 1).
    • assistance to artists to produce significant works as well as career advancement (Actions 2 and 3).
  • Strengthening the creative industries ecosystem ($57.35 million over four years) Building capability and conditions for growth
    • access for creative industries to business acceleration services to stimulate entrepreneurship and develop a stronger capacity to commercialise ideas and capture economic returns (Action 6).
    • support for screen industry business development, production activity and events (Actions 13 and 14).
  • Delivering wider economic and social impact ($14.05 million over four years) Stimulating innovation and wider creative impact
    • a major investment in design to support design businesses and broaden the impact of design (Action 19).
    • a pioneering cultural solutions program to extend the role of creative services in securing social benefits, in partnership with government and community organisations (Action 15).
  • Increasing participation and access ($32.15 million over four years) Engaging more Victorians in cultural and creative endeavour
    • place-based actions, in partnership with suburban and regional councils, to establish spaces for creative enterprises and collaboration, and stronger cultural engagement with communities (Actions 7, 21 and 37).
    • specific actions in regional centres, including Bendigo, Ballarat, Latrobe Valley and Shepparton to enhance creative experiences and infrastructure (Actions 9 and 22 to 26).
    • actions to achieve greater diversity in employment, programming and participation in the creative industries (Action 20).
  • Building international engagement ($5.05 million over four years) Extending Victoria's impact and profile for global audiences, visitors and markets
    • a stronger commitment to creative industries touring, collaboration with overseas partners to grow our international impact and trade (Actions 30 to 34).
    • a major initiative to determine how Melbourne can become a world-renowned cultural tourism destination, based on having the right mix of cultural infrastructure, organisations, programming and investment (Action 29).