Culture is an inescapable part of what it means to be human. We can no more imagine a life without the arts than we can imagine a life without language, custom, or ritual. Australia is home to the oldest continuing cultural traditions on the planet, and some of the world's most renowned actors, musicians and artists. But while we have a proud story to tell, the future of Australian culture looks increasingly uncertain.
This research reveals the ongoing, devastating impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s arts and entertainment sector and provides a series of recommendations to government that would reboot the creative sector after the crisis.
- More people work in broad cultural industries (over 350,000) than many other areas of the economy that are receiving greater policy supports, including aviation (40,500) and coal mining (48,900).
- Despite years of significant funding pressures and policy neglect, the arts and entertainment sector contributed $17 billion in GDP to the Australian economy in 2018-19.
- Due to their disproportionately insecure labour market conditions, arts and entertainment sector workers are experiencing significant ruptures in their employment arrangements due to COVID-19.
- The federal government has not adequately responded to the scale and severity of the crisis in the arts & entertainment sector. Worse still, it has implemented increasingly hostile policies, including weakening local production quotas and increasing the cost of studying creative fields.
- Unpredictable health restrictions due to vaccination program failures mean the viability of the arts & cultural sector will likely be hampered for years to come.
- Expand cultural funding to community arts organisations and artists, introducing a new Commonwealth creative fellowships program.
- Create a whole-of-Australia public streaming platform.
- Lift government funding for arts education at Commonwealth and state and territory levels.
- Introduce a digital platforms levy to fund a merged-content production fund.
- Introduce a single technology-neutral Australian repertoire quota on all content services, including international streaming platforms.
- Fund the national cultural institutions properly.
- Better coordinate cultural policy between federal, state and local government levels, especially during the COVID-19 recovery.
- Fund community broadcasting and public-interest journalism.
- Strengthen pay and conditions for arts and entertainment sector workers.