Arts Minister Paul Fletcher has asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts, to inquire into and report on Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions. Submissions close on 22nd October.
The Committee sits in the House of Representatives, not the Senate, with five members of the Liberals/Nationals and three from Labor. Read about them here. The findings will be taken seriously.
TNA believes that this inquiry is important as a way to show the value of arts and culture, and to highlight opportunities ahead for the role that arts and culture can play in many areas of life, as the country begins recovery and builds a new normal.
TNA is preparing a submission – read more details below.
If you are able to, we encourage you to do the 20 questions in the online survey – there are some tips below. Or if you have more time, you could put in a considered submission – some resources below to help you.
TNA is preparing a submission based on insight gained from reports, roundtables, meetings, and from surveys including our 2020 Independents Survey. We will highlight the opportunities for arts and culture to contribute towards the government’s goals, for example:
Delivering economic value and future success through their role in child development, education, local economies, tourism and skills for the future;
Building social cohesion through their power to shape our sense of national identity, celebrate our diversity and promote empathy and connection that can bridge social divides;
Supporting our health and wellbeing, including meeting major challenges such as ageing, social isolation, loneliness and mental health. (Australia Council for the Arts, 2020, National Arts Participation Survey).
We will also highlight the opportunity to invest in our country’s creative future through ongoing, sustainable support for the Australia Council for the Arts. In particular, we will emphasise the role that independent artist grant recipients play in innovation and ideas creation; and the role that project and multi-year funded small and large producing companies play in creating and presenting new Australian stories and in engaging audiences in regional, remote and metropolitan areas and of course online.
TNA will include:
· A call for the government to develop a National Arts and Culture Plan, similar to Sport 2030, to be implemented across the Australian Government; with states and territory governments; with the Australia Council for the Arts; and with the wider arts and cultural industries.
· An emphasis of the importance of the arms-length Australia Council for the Arts. We are concerned that if more funding is channelled through the Office for the Arts, such as the RISE funding, and less through the Australia Council, there will be a skew away from project grants for independents, and away from supporting the subsidised performing arts companies, especially the small and medium sized companies.
· A proposal for the government to invest in a Guarantee Against Loss program so that presenters feel confident in programming many months ahead and can contract producers with adequate lead time.
· A summary of the impact of COVID-19 on the independent sector, using data from our soon to be released report. (Amongst other findings, an average of 70% of creative projects scheduled for 2020 were cancelled or postponed, and 83% of respondents who have jobs outside of their creative practice lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
 Supporting the call from A New Approach, Insight Report 3, pp 49-51.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Committee will consider the following:
• The direct and indirect economic benefits and employment opportunities of
creative and cultural industries and how to recognise, measure and grow them
• The non-economic benefits that enhance community, social wellbeing and
promoting Australia’s national identity, and how to recognise, measure and
• The best mechanism for ensuring cooperation and delivery of policy between
layers of government
• The impact of COVID-19 on the creative and cultural industries; and
• Avenues for increasing access and opportunities for Australia’s creative and
cultural industries through innovation and the digital environment.
The Inquiry’s survey asks 20 questions, including 4 about COVID impact, and opportunities to strengthen the creative and cultural industries. TNA has prepared a Survey Template in word, so you can take time to write your answers and cut and paste them into the online form. Survey closes 22 October.
TNA has sought clarification on some of the questions, and the answers are highlighted in the template. We urge you to be as accurate and considered as you can. Let us know if you have trouble accessing the online form.
Not everyone will want to fill in yet another survey, so TNA will be preparing a submission on behalf of the sector.
If you are able to do a submission, case studies about the outcomes of Australia Council grants would have real impact. This could be a sell-out season, a re-energised community, an international tour, or a life-changing experience for an individual.
If you would like to do some of your own research to inform your survey or submission, here are some ideas:
Creating Our Future: National Arts Participation Survey. The survey was conducted in late 2019, so it provides a benchmark of Australians’ arts engagement before the impacts of the pandemic, along with vital new evidence showing the arts are a public good infused and embedded in the fabric of our daily lives.
A New Approach: Insight Reports. These five reports explore why and how governments, philanthropists, communities, businesses and individuals invest in arts and culture; what benefits and impacts this generates; and how we can ensure this investment is relevant and effective. The fifth report – a working paper of the forthcoming Australia’s cultural and creative economy: A 21st century guide, includes data such as: including creatives imbedded in non-creative industries, the cultural and creative workforce is 8.1% of Australia’s total workforce (868,098 people).
Remember that case studies of projects will be just as influential as facts and figures.