Most Australians Want Government Lifeline for the Creative Industries


New research from The Australia Institute has found that more than one in two Australians agree that the Government should double funding for the Australia Council for the Arts to help support the arts during COVID-19, and the majority of Australians (62%) agree that online streaming services should be subject to similar Australian content obligations as televisions stations are.

The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,004 Australians about how they have engaged with the creative arts during the lockdown on 8-9 May 2020.

Key Findings:

  • One in two Australians (51%) agree that the Government should double funding for the Australia Council for the Arts to help support the arts during the COVID-19 lockdown, 32% disagree.
  • More than three in five Australians (62%) agree that online streaming services should have similar Australian content obligations to screen and promote Australian content as television stations do, 23% disagree.
  • Most Australians (68%) underestimate the number of people employed in the creative arts relative to coal mining
    • Only 7% correctly answer that the arts employ significantly more than coal mining does. 
  • During lockdown, Australians are participating in more cultural activities.
    • Most Australians are watching more television shows and movies (61% and 54% respectively).
    • 31% of Australians are reading more works of fiction and 25% are reading more non-fiction.
  • The vast majority of Australians (73%) agree that the arts have improved their mood and quality of life during the pandemic, 15% disagree.

“With the Government’s $60 billion JobKeeper overestimate, there is little excuse why it cannot afford to now double the funding to the Australia Council and include arts workers in the JobKeeper program as part of an arts and entertainment industry rescue package,” said Rod Campbell, Research Director of The Australia Institute.

“The COVID-19 crisis has hit the arts hard, with reports of over $330 million in contracts lost. This comes on top of the challenges already facing the sector, such as the substantial reductions in federal funding in recent years. Prior to COVID-19 the Australia Council was already in a funding crisis and it would be a wise move for the Government to double its funding and provide a much-needed lifeline to the arts and entertainment industry.

“The COVID-19 lockdowns have only served to enhance Australians’ appreciation of arts and entertainment, and the contribution the creative industries makes to our everyday lives.

“The future of the creative industries is an important part of our economic and cultural life. It would be a costly mistake for the Government to choose not to throw the arts industry an economic lifeline, which would not only revive our arts and entertainment industries, but also flow on to tourism, hospitality and other hard-hit areas of our economy.”

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