The Hon. Martin Foley MP – travel report, United Kingdom and Italy, July 2015

Minister The Hon. Martin Foley, MP
Portfolio Minister for Creative Industries
Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing
Minister for Mental Health
Minister for Equality
Countries visited United Kingdom
Date of travel 18 – 28 July, 2015
No. of official travel days
(including date of departure and date of return)
10 days
Number of accompanying ministerial staff 1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity Yes (private capacity)
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by
(list department/s or agency)

Department of Health and Human Services
Creative Victoria

Air fares $17,575.16*
Accommodation $11,102.00*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $4,366.88*
Travel cost for minister and staff $33,044.04

* These figures have been updated. Earlier figures erroneously included the costs of departmental staff, which have now been removed.

Purpose of travel

The purpose of my travel was to make connections with industry representatives, service providers and renowned experts in the areas of Creative Industries, Mental Health and Ageing, Disability and Equality in the United Kingdom and Italy. I also took the opportunity to promote Victoria's expertise and excellence across the range of my portfolio interests to new stakeholders and potential partners.

The overall objective of the travel was to learn about international best practice, innovation in service delivery and policy development across the range of my portfolio responsibilities and seek opportunities for closer relations and sharing expertise across these broad portfolio interests.

Benefits of travel to the state of Victoria

The meetings and site tours I undertook during my visits to the United Kingdom and Italy will be of great benefit to the State of Victoria as we develop a comprehensive creative industries strategy, encourage the sector to become more internationally integrated and grow exports and jobs. I also had the opportunity to promote Victorian creative industries and artists to new and interested audiences.

My key findings will be used to inform sections of the new strategies currently in development across the range of my portfolio interest.

The implications for the development of the government's Creative Industries Strategy from these learnings are significant, especially when considering funding models, developing new jobs and exports, embracing the use of technology and innovation, using creative industries to enhance and improve social, cultural and economic outcomes for the community, whilst maintaining cultural and creative identity across the sector. Equally, lessons on integration of human services to respond to multiple causes of disadvantage were important for comparison.

Key findings related to my creative industry portfolio interests are outlined below:

1. There is a need to ensure cultural institutions and creative businesses are encouraged and supported to fully exploit commercial opportunities

I met with a range of organisations which are operating successful innovative funding models and business investment programs. In my meetings with Remix and Creative England, they provided many examples of entrepreneurial creative businesses and organisations that have been able to grow into sustainable businesses through an initial small investment and a good idea.

Other organisations have developed sustainable sources of income from their cultural content and brands, including the Victoria and Albert Enterprises (as part of the V&A museum), Punchdrunk, Secret Cinemas, Live Theatre London, Battersea Arts Centre.

The British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Southbank Centre have all built strong revenue streams out of their non-core functions. This revenue ensures they can continue to offer diverse entertainment and educational programs for their growing audiences as well as continue their research and collection development work.

Access to finance for small to medium organisations is a universal concern for creative industries. I met with creative industry entrepreneurs who have worked with both the sector and government to ensure tax relief, research and development grants and low interest loans exist alongside traditional government grants for sector development.

Other forms of support for the creative sector I was able to discuss included access to suitable accommodation and working spaces – including the development of creative hubs. There are some successful models of these operating across the United Kingdom and they have contributed to the rise in both creative output and the growth in creative organisations.

2. Cultural attractions and events can generate enormous tourism opportunities and transform places

Every two years, the Venice Biennale of Arts and Architecture takes over Venice for the summer months. It has become a major tourist attraction and is a major economic boost for the local economy. I saw first-hand the number of visitors who visit for the biennale, and also saw the huge exposure exhibiting at the biennale our Victorian artists gained.

I saw blockbuster art exhibitions, such as Alexander Mc Queen: Savage Beauty at the V&A and Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation at the British Museum attract large numbers of international cultural tourists in addition to local visitors.

Major theatre productions, such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which I saw at the Gielgud Theatre, are a major visitor drawcard and inject a significant boost to the local economy.

Tate Modern opened in 2000 in its Southbank location. Since that time, it has attracted more than 40 million visitors and contributed to the revitalisation of South Bank as a cultural and tourist destination.

These visits will support development of the Creative Industries Strategy.

3. Victorian creative talent competes well internationally, and exposure on the world stage can significantly advance careers and attract new audiences and markets

I found that Victoria's reputation as a cultural centre, home to some of Australia's best known artists and creative industry talent – curators, researchers, designers, actors, producers, developers – is held in high regard internationally.

Victorian creative talent – artists, architects and curators – was on display for the world to see at the Venice Biennale and others making a name for themselves at some of the world's best known cultural institutions.

Artist Fiona Hall's work attracted positive attention from visitors, critics and buyers. Being able to exhibit her work at this international festival may prove transformative to her career, as it has been for other leading Victorian artists Bill Henson, Howard Arkley, Patricia Piccinini, Ricky Swallow and Callum Morton amongst others.

The newly built Australian Pavilion was designed by Victorian architects Denton Corker Marshall, showing their work to a new audience every two years.

While in London, I met with the Director of Theatre from London's Barbican. I announced the Victorian Government's support for the Malthouse Theatre's production of Shadow King to present a season at the Barbican. Shadow King is an adaptation of King Lear performed in English, Kriol and the actors' own Indigenous Australian languages and will be a uniquely Australian contribution to the festival celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

This has solidified my view that facilitating increased international exposure opportunities is vital to the sector and Victoria's economy.

4. Creative talent and businesses benefit from the leadership roles key institutions play in the ecosystem

I was particularly struck by the role key institutions play in developing and supporting creative talent and commercial opportunities across the United Kingdom's creative sector. These leading institutions also take a role advocating to government and business on behalf of the sector to improve opportunities.

The Design Museum supports and showcases British design as the world's leading museum devoted to contemporary design. The UK Design Council has endured for more than 70 years and is at the forefront of promoting design as an economic enabler and driver of innovation.

The British Film Institute invests heavily to support film development, production and distribution activity. The institute also takes a lead role in working with government to ensure the tax settings for the industry are fair and reasonable, and encourage investment and production.

Creative England is a not-for-profit organisation which promotes the development of creative sector businesses, mainly in games, film, digital media and production services.

The British Council takes new British work and ideas to global audiences, showcases British talent at events of international importance, and develops creative sector skills and leadership.

The Arts Council supports the arts sector across the UK with Lottery Funds working with government on policy settings and programs to encourage creative activity and promotion.

UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) supports, develops and promotes Britain's games and interactive entertainment industry. It advocates to government on a range of issues including age ratings, education and skills, access to finance and protecting intellectual property rights. UKIE was recently successfully influencing the new tax incentive program.

A newly created Creative Industries Council comprises around 40 leading CEOs and advises the government, through the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, on the development and implementation of creative industries strategy.

A list of people and organisations I met with and visited follows:

  • Head of Media and Creative Industries, Department of Culture, Media and Sport
  • Partners, 3 John's and a Shelagh
  • Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England
  • Mr John Newbigin, Chair of Creative England
  • Mr Deyan Sudjic, Chief Executive Officer, Design Museum
  • Mr John Mathers, Chief Executive Officer at the UK Design Council
  • Mr Simon Cronshaw, Co-founder and Director, REMIX Global Summits and Culture Label
  • Mr Jon Slack, Director of the Australia New Zealand Festival
  • Mr Mark Stuart-Smith, CEO of Somerset House Trust
  • Dr Gaye Sculthorpe, Senior Curator British Museum
  • Ms Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre, Barbican
  • Directors of External Affairs and International at the British Film Institute
  • Senior Exhibition Research Assistant, Deputy Director and Head of Collections and Head of Exhibitions and Loans, Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Tate Modern
  • Serpentine Galleries
  • Australia Council Pavilion Manager and Team Leader, 2015 Venice Biennale
  • Director of Corporate Development, Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice

Key findings related to my Mental Health and Ageing, Disability and Equality portfolio interests are:

1. How we can support the development and delivery of integrated and innovative models of care to vulnerable Victorians

Models of integrated and co-ordinated services to vulnerable people have the potential to achieve better client outcomes especially for those with multiple and complex needs.

KeyRing London showcased how community networks can be successfully utilised to support people with disabilities to live independently, including the provision of intensive 'floating' support to people with higher support needs.

The principles governing information sharing, joint decision making and coordinated intervention across agencies at the Southwark's Councils Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) provided an insight into how multidisciplinary professionals from partner agencies can work together to improve safeguarding responses for children.

The co-location of professional teams (including Children's Social Care, Police, Education, Health, Housing, Probation and Youth Offending Services) is central to Southwark MASH, however a number of other components drive its success as an integrated model of service delivery for families and children who face multiple disadvantages:

  • Single point of entry – all notifications for the safeguarding of families and children come through a single integrated gateway.
  • An agreed process for triaging of referrals establishes levels of need and corresponding service provision, and is critical to ensuring consistent and equitable responses to families and children. Screening is followed by a more intensive multi-agency assessment of need.
  • Real time information sharing between agencies informs risk assessment and reduces potential harm. An information sharing agreement defines the circumstances under which privacy information will be shared, and provides agencies with the assurance to share information sooner to identify harm and supports better outcomes.
  • Timely and coordinated interventions that are facilitated through co-location, swift information sharing and multi-agency risk processes.
  • Clear governance arrangements define how the MASH is managed, directed and held accountable for achieving its objectives.

Effective responses, early intervention and prevention are critical to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable Victorians, particularly children and young people.

I intend to build on these models in framing the future integrated care system for Victoria. At its heart will be approaches to ensuring client-centred approaches including social and economic participation for the most marginalised citizens.

2. There are other opportunities for us to better address the health needs of LGBTI Victorians

Dean Street Express provides a ground-breaking sexual health clinic in central London which offers free routine sexual health screening six days a week, with results back in only six hours.

The accessibility, aesthetics and ease-of-use of the rapid walk-in service offered by the clinic, provides a remarkable model for Victoria to learn from, and helps reinforce that to reduce HIV transmission rates, we must move away from traditional abstinence based models towards more focused care that innovatively and holistically combats the stigma of HIV.

3. An insight into world leading innovative models of mental health care and support cross-collaboration

I visited the Trieste Mental Health Department (TMHD) in Trieste, Italy to learn about its world leading programs, the philosophies and rationale underpinning its mental health care and its experience regarding non-compulsory treatment.

TMHD's commitment to de-institutionalisation and subsequent adoption of a 'whole system, whole community' approach is truly remarkable and has provided much for us to consider as we progress the development of Victoria's new ten year mental health strategy.

In addition, I also met with:

  • South London and Maudsley MHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) to learn about its wide range of mental health and substance abuse programs and close clinical and academic partnerships with several leading research centres.
  • Professor Mike Slade whose work has set a benchmark in recovery-oriented practice and service user involvement and provides an interesting model for Victoria to continue to learn from.

Next steps / follow up

The next steps after my successful visit will be to ensure the findings and lessons are applied to and inform the new strategies for creative industries, a ten year mental health strategy and an integrated care system for vulnerable and at-risk Victorians.

The future for Victoria's creative industries is bright. Some of the findings from this visit can be applied in the new strategy to ensure the skills and international partnerships are in place for a vibrant and thriving creative industries sector in Victoria.

These include:

  • Ensuring Victoria continues to pursue opportunities to establish and attract major cultural events and attractions. We can build on our strong relationships with institutions to provide exhibitions and other attractions to Victoria, such as the British Museum, V&A and Barbican Centre. I am also committed to realising an exchange program with a major cultural institution is facilitated with support from Creative Victoria.
  • Exploring opportunities to create cultural hubs and co-working spaces, and provide finance and funding options beyond grants to build and sustain creative enterprises.
  • Continuing to create opportunities to take our very best to the world. Victorian creative talent and expertise is in demand and we will foster relationships and institutional partnerships to ensure these opportunities exist.
  • Cultural and institutional bodies will be encouraged and supported to play a stronger leadership role in building sector capacity and fostering collaboration, entrepreneurship and innovation.

My findings and insights from my visits with leading care and service providers will be used to inform the next wave of policy and strategy development for my Mental Health and Ageing, Disability and Equality portfolios, frame our service delivery approaches and ensure that the well-being and needs of vulnerable and at-risk Victorians remains at the core of our work.

Page last updated: 20 July 2016