Cairns Regional Council, Australia Public Art Policy

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Cairns Regional Council, Australia

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted on 6/15/06

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To provide a guide and a framework, for Council in the development, planning, maintenance, de-accessioning, acquisition and integration of public art in the Cairns local government area.

The public art policy applies to all development applications for Commercial Developments, Multi Unit Housing and Reconfiguring a Lot and to Council programs that are concerned with the built and natural environment, such as capital works, urban design, integrated planning and design, development assessment, environment and parks, roads, transport and bridges.


The objectives of this policy are to:

  • To enhance Council’s knowledge and understanding of the management and promotion of the existing City’s public art collection.
  • To develop a strategic framework for future public art works in the Cairns local government area.
  • To develop a framework to encourage private business partnerships to contribute financially to the cultural life of the city.
  • To assist and guide Council in the management, maintenance, deaccessioning and gifts to Council issues that pertain to existing and future public art work in the city.
  • Establish and implement guidelines for developers to make contributions to public art through the development assessment process.
  • Work with arts providers across the region to ensure a diverse arts program that meets the needs of the widest number of people for the

best application of resources.

  • Continue to protect the issues of cultural property, copyright, intellectual property and authenticity.
  • Establish a Public Art Advisory Group to provide recommendations to Council and to oversee the production, management, selection of artists, artistic works, and financial requirements as they pertain to public art projects associated with Council’s capital works program and private developments.

The Context
Council recognises that public art is as diverse as the landscape in which it is presented. It is inspired and informed by a multitude of environments – the cultural, physical, political, emotional and spiritual.

The term public art usually refers to contemporary artwork that occurs outside of a traditional gallery or museum. It can involve highly diverse works contained in areas that integrate art, design and architecture into the public realm. It can be temporary or permanent. It can involve high experienced public artists, young and emerging artists and artists working in a community setting.

Public art in Cairns reflects local character through a variety of mediums. Such works include; sculpture, installation art, painting, paving, street furniture, mosaics, pathways, animation, lighting, new technologies, water features, elements of design such as furnishings, furniture and signage. Generally projects will be supported which provide durability and low maintenance cost to Council.

Cairns Regional Council will enable public art to be applied in numerous ways such as:

  • Commissions – purchasing an art work;
  • Integrated art – integrated art works planned from the inception of capital works programs;
  • Public art in a community setting – usually involving some community input into the design, location and construction or fabrication;
  • Public art that is stand alone;
  • Public art that is sited in a precinct and;
  • Public art that is curated, themed or part of an overall collection in a precinct or geographical area.

Funding the Public Art Program
Council will build up a public art ‘bank’ to support streams of the public art program and all ancillary costs. Apportioned percentages will be derived from the following streams. Council will ensure that a ‘bank’ of funds is built up over time prior to expending funds on major public art projects and associated ancillary costs.

The contribution towards public art will cover:

  • Public art, asset and project planning;
  • Public art project management and consultant’s fees;
  • Public art tender costs;
  • Public art legal and contractual documentation;
  • Artists fees, sub contractor (and trainees wages) where applicable;
  • Public art material and manufacture/fabrication;
  • Public art design
  • Public art risk management and liability costs; and
  • Public art maintenance and conservation.

Civic Stream - entirely funded by Council
Council will apportion 1 percent of the total value for new or refurbished building works over $250,000.

Private Stream – entirely funded by developer
Contributions are triggered only through applications requiring Material Change of Use or Reconfiguring a Lot as follows:

  • Commercial Developments: A minimum contribution of 0.5% of the Unimproved Capital Value of the subject property, with a maximum contribution of $2,500 per development.
  • Unit developments of less than 15 units are exempt from public art contributions. For unit developments of 16 or more units the contribution rate is $150 per unit.
  • Reconfiguring a lot applications for less than 5 lots are exempt from public art contributions. For Reconfiguring a lot applications of greater than 6 lots the contribution rate is $200 per lot.

Jointly Funded Capital Works Building Projects
Council will work in line with the State Government’s Art Built-In Policy when it is involved in jointly funded capital works projects. Council acknowledges that the Art Built-In Policy will apply to the quantum of the State Government contribution for capital works building projects that are jointly funded by the State and with Commonwealth or Local Governments.

Related Policies and Plans
Some significant and related documents include: Cairns Plan, Future Cairns, Creative Cairns, Graffiti Management Policy, Community Engagement Policy, Pole Banner Policy.

Council will adopt a Public Art action plan to facilitate the implementation of this policy.