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Byron Shire is Australia's centre of Arts and Culture - so where is our cultural centre?

Byron Shire Action Group today committed to a Council collaboration with State and Federal Governments, and local philanthropists, to develop a purpose-built arts and cultural centre as a destination tourism experience to showcase local and visiting creatives.

Media release September 13, 2021

Read the full culture policy plan (PDF)

Mayoral candidate Bruce Clarke stated: “Byron Shire has been left behind in investing in a cultural future. Whilst other neighbouring Councils such as Ballina, Lismore and Tweed have established viable Cultural Centres, Byron is still just talking about it.

There are a plethora of government grants available to assist local cultural centres as we have recently seen with the $1.83 million upgrade to the Lennox Head Cultural Centre from the NSW Regional Cultural Fund.

Additionally, we have local philanthropists anxious to financially support good cultural initiatives. The Byron Cultural Centre, which will combine a concert hall, art gallery and production studio, is an integral part of the Byron Shire Action Group’s cultural plan to increase participation and encourage innovation in arts and culture.  We have listened to the calls from our community for a purpose-built Cultural Centre and know that with proper planning and collaboration, this is achievable.  

We believe that the Council has undervalued the power of our vibrant grassroots arts community. We need a more holistic and broader approach aimed at bringing our community together, to empower youth to pursue artistic careers, to activate public spaces and to drive cultural tourism.

Beyond its intrinsic value, arts and culture has a range of social, economic and health benefits for individuals and communities. Art is a powerful tool to connect our cultural heritage, hinterland and coast.  

To do this, we need to review Council’s resources for cultural initiatives, and establish stronger relationships between our arts community and businesses to encourage increased community spend and involvement with the arts through art, dance, festivals, dance, live music performances, art and multimedia in libraries, street art, public art, cultural celebrations, and exhibitions. We also intend to tap into State and Federal programs to increase funding for these cross-Shire initiatives.

Together, we will create an ambitious long-term future for arts and culture in Byron Shire that is collaborative, responsive and sustainable," Bruce concluded.

Byron Shire Action Group’s Cultural Roadmap:

Action 1: Investigate a Council collaboration with State and Federal Governments, and philanthropists, to develop a purpose-built arts and culture centre, comprising a concert hall, art gallery and production studio, to showcase local and visiting creatives as a destination tourism experience.

Action 2: Develop a strategic Public Art program that builds on our cultural heritage through high quality contemporary public art commissions - both permanent and temporary - integrated with master planning and major infrastructure developments.

Action 3: Professionalise the approach to public art commissioning, identify opportunities and develop appropriate models of delivery and management incorporating best practice.

Action 4: Leverage contacts with State and Federal Government funding bodies to access grants, and to encourage a greater uptake to facilitate growth and support for our cultural and creative sector.

Action 5: Collaborate with community as well as private and government partners to create a roadmap outlining long term planning and investment strategies to support our creative enterprises.

Action 6: Conduct a review of Council-owned spaces and places across Byron Shire, including community facilities such as halls and libraries, public places, beaches and parks to assess the potential to be utilised as creative spaces.

Action 7: Advocate for vacant and under-used privately owned spaces to be utilized by artists and creative enterprises.

Action 8: Utilise art as a tool of education and social healing.

Read the full culture policy plan (PDF)

About Byron Shire Action Group

As a team of strong, like-minded Progressive Independents, Byron Shire Action Group believes in putting the people of Byron Shire ahead of allegiance to any political party. By providing smart leadership and better governance, the team will focus on the real issues faced by the community. while ensuring Byron Shire maintains its heritage, character and values while adapting to future demands. Mayoral candidate Bruce Clarke is a lawyer, local government specialist, trained mediator, and environmental and social activist with high-level management expertise. He is joined on the team by senior diplomat, journalist, communications strategist Julie Meldrum; café owner and Brunswick Chamber of Commerce committee member Gary Deller; and small businesswoman Janine Khosid. In the lead up to the Council election on 4 December 2021, specifics about key action plans will continue to be released that will act as a blueprint for a reinvigorated and reunited Byron Shire.

For more details, please visit   or contact Bruce Clarke via or 0419 292 323.