Arts Flashback

To celebrate Arts Victoria's 40th anniversary we've hit the archives
and uncovered some choice moments in the development of
Victoria's arts sector.

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Victorian Government Gazette, Tuesday 19 December 1972


Ministry for the Arts Act passed

The Ministry for the Arts Act 1972 (renamed the Arts Victoria Act in 1998) was assented to on 13 December 1972 and came into operation on 19 December 1972. The Act, the first of its kind in Australia, enshrines Government's support for the arts in legislation.


Victoria's first Arts Minister Rupert Hamer acknowledged that while the State Government had supported the arts in various ways for many years, time had come for improved co-ordination and the formulation of new policies to ensure planned and steady growth of the sector. He cited several reasons, including:

  • The increase in leisure time in the community provided more scope for the arts of leisure and made them more important;
  • Evidence of a wider community interest in the arts as well as rising demands for training and information; and
  • The need to stimulate and support the arts in country centres.

"It is…quite clear that the Government's involvement in the arts has now reached a stage where it is desirable to establish a separate Ministry for the Arts … to develop and improve the knowledge of the arts in Victoria; continually to study the progress of the arts and propose ways in which this progress can be expedited; and generally to advise and co-operate with all other bodies concerned with the promotion and practice of the arts in this State," Hamer said during the second reading of the Ministry for the Arts Bill in October 1972.

The Act provided for the appointment of a director to assist and advise the Minister in achieving these objectives, supported by a staff of public servants; and the establishment of an Arts Fund.

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