Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions are embedded in our culture, identity and economy. Australia is a cultural heavy-hitter in the world market, with Australian ideas, content, production and artwork recognised for its quality around the world.
The COVID-19 public health emergency (COVID-19) has brought into sharp focus the important role that creative content has in our everyday lives. Australians were suddenly unable to access live entertainment, go to the cinema, attend galleries and museums, watch an upcoming stand-up comic or enjoy a fringe festival due to the restrictions necessary to curb the spread of the virus.
The changes and challenges felt across Australia’s arts and cultural sector have been brought to the forefront in the face of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Committee set out to reflect on how Australians interact with arts and culture; the value they deliver; the impact of COVID-19; and ways to re-frame the national conversation around the arts to better support this vital industry.
- Chapter 2 sets out an overview of the major artistic domains; the current arrangements supporting Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions, including policy delivery; the role of the Australia Council and the Office for the Arts; how coordination between layers of government operates; and the role of the private sector in the support of arts and culture.
- Chapter 3 examines the value of the arts, drawing out their economic and non-economic benefits. The contribution to employment and gross domestic product is discussed alongside the role of the arts in shaping and preserving Australia’s cultural identity; supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Australians; and enhancing social cohesion.
- Chapter 4 discusses the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency on the sector, drawing on evidence from submissions, hearings, and survey responses. The impact on employment, and the need to adopt a digital focus, innovate and future-proof Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions; crisis relief and mental health support to artists, crew and music workers; and Commonwealth Government support provided to support Australia’s creative and cultural sectors is highlighted.
- Chapter 5 explores the role that the arts plays in the current education policy landscape, drawing out the potential to transition education from a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM), noting the benefits of STEAM to the future job market and the broader long-term benefits derived from arts in education.
- Chapter 6 outlines next steps for the arts beyond 2020-21, and outlines the benefits of introducing a national cultural plan. The unpredictable arts landscape of 2021 and onwards will likely be impacted by COVID-19, and this chapter explores the sustainability of the arts sector.