Working paper

There is growing interest in quantifying the economic contribution of cultural and creative industries both in Australia and internationally. Measurement of this activity can inform policy makers about how such industries contribute to economic outcomes relative to other industries.

Cultural and creative activity is increasingly recognised as an important component of economic growth. Its contribution has the potential to grow as the economy transforms in parallel with the use of advanced technologies and the rise of automation. The economic response to a digital and technology-based transition is already evident in services such as internet publishing and computer system design which are also linked to creative activity.

The economic value of cultural and creative activity is determined by how it is defined and identified for each activity, or for both. In addition, some cultural and creative activity may not be captured fully, owing to how volunteering and non-market based production are reflected in the measurements.


  • This working paper shows a 30% increase in the value of cultural and creative activity, from $86 billion in 2008-09 to $111.7 billion in 2016-17. This equates to 6.4% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016-17.
  • Activities contributing the most to the economy were design ($42.8 billion), fashion ($14.2 billion), and broadcasting, electronic or digital media and film ($9.7 billion) in 2016-17.
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