Polling: Gov Support for Arts Industry Popular and Necessary

New research released today by the Australia Institute highlights the significant economic contribution of the creative arts in Australia and the threat that COVID-19 presents to the sector.

The research also reveals that a majority of Australians (58%) support a $750 million federal relief package to support the live music sector which has been most heavily impacted by COVID-19 public health measures.

Key Findings:

  • The creative arts make a major contribution to the Australian economy, employing 194,000 Australians and directly contributing $14.7 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • In fact, the creative and performing arts employ four times as many people as coal mining, and as many as the finance industry
  • The sector has been extremely impacted by COVID-19 pandemic public health measures, with half of businesses in the arts and recreation industry not operating – more than any other impacted industry.
  • The majority of respondents (58%) support a $750 million federal relief package for the live music sector, less than a quarter (24%) oppose
  • Support for the $750 million federal relief package is strong across all states and voting intentions
  • 470,000 workers in the live performance sector alone have lost $330 million dollars worth of work.

“Creative and performing arts employ four times as many people as coal mining and as many as finance, yet the economic contribution of this sector is rarely discussed,” said Rod Campbell, Research Director at the Australia Institute.

“$14.7 billion in GDP comes directly from creative industries, even without considering the way art shapes tastes and preferences, the very basis of economic decision making.

“Arts are not just important for the big cities. There are more art galleries in regional Australia than there are in metropolitan areas. Regional galleries pay thousands of artists and staff each year and can be the hub of cultural life in regional communities.

“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, for example substantial reductions in federal funding in recent years.

“The future of the creative industries is an important part of our economic and cultural life. It would be a large mistake for the Government to choose not to throw the industry an economic lifeline.”

The discussion paper, Art vs Dismal Science: The economics of Australia’s creative arts sector, by Bill Browne can be downloaded here.

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