Australia has only ever had one poet laureate, and he was paid in cows.
Michael Massey Robinson, a former convict, was appointed to the role by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1810 and granted two cows for his services.
Sacked by Macquarie's successor, he remains the country's first and only poet laureate.
More than 200 years later, the government's broad-ranging national cultural policy announced on Monday will finally re-establish the role.
It's a common post in the US, Canada, New Zealand and UK and the job will involve promoting the discipline of poetry and mentoring up-and-coming poets.
One can only hope the pay might be better this time around.
Poet Sarah Holland-Batt, who recited her new work at the policy launch on Monday, said the move was overdue but genuinely exciting.
"Poetry and literature have been marginal in arts policy ... We've been very slow to recognise their value, and we have such a great tradition of poetry on this continent," she told AAP.
What would Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson and Dorothea Mackellar have thought?
The laureate's appointment will be part of the brief for a new body, Writers Australia, that will support writers and illustrators to create new works.
It will also hand out cash to existing literary organisations and work on developing global markets for Australian writing.
Writers Australia will also be charged with running the Prime Minister's Literary Awards after complaints of bias, and interventions in the judging by previous prime ministers.
The cultural policy also extends Australia's existing lending rights schemes to include digital content, so writers will be paid when libraries hold their audio and e-books.
Author Sophie Cunningham said the policy exceeded her greatest hopes.
"This is going to make a real difference, it's substantive," she told AAP.
According to the Australian Society of Authors, most are unable to make a living from their work, and it's hoped the $12.9 million move will make a substantial difference for writers' incomes.
A recent survey found they earned $18,200 a year on average from their creative output - perhaps a contemporary equivalent of two cows.
Australian Associated Press