Federal inquiry into cultural and creative industries an opportunity to build back better from COVID-19

AAH News Academy, Policy & Research

The Australian Academy of the Humanities believes the current inquiry into Australia’s Cultural and Creative Industries and Institutions comes at a pivotal moment and has the potential to be transformative for one of the nation’s most vital sectors.

In its submission to the Inquiry, the Academy says the nation needs a fresh national approach, recognising that our creative and cultural industries employ more than 600,000 workers and is worth $112 billion of the nation’s GDP.

Pre-COVID-19, this substantial part of the Australian economy was growing at twice the rate of the general economy. The pandemic has, however, hit this sector disproportionately hard with the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest labour force data showing revenues crashing and job losses in the order of 50 per cent in some sectors.

Coming out of the pandemic, the Academy is calling for a jobs and growth agenda for our creative and cultural industries. It says the majority of Australia’s creative businesses (about 95 per cent) are small and medium enterprises, including many sole traders, who ‘tend to fly under the radar of government policy’.

The Academy says post-pandemic a future workforce strategy is essential for our creative and cultural industries which should take account of both supply and demand for skills and training.
Amongst the recommendations in the Academy submission is the call for a reclassification of the industries that underpin the creative sector.

Other recommendations include:

  • A comprehensive independent review of the creative and cultural industries by the Productivity Commission (or equivalent) to replace the current ad hoc, siloed approach to the sector and maximise future growth potential.
  • The creation of a coordinated entity to drive policy innovation and sustained industry development.
  • Greater incentives for cultural and creative research and development, including tax incentive provisions.
  • Examining the untapped potential to use Australia’s world-leading research expertise to inform policy deliberations.
  • A greater focus on regional creativity to help shape our national identity, tourism and economic growth.
  • Recognising and investing in the capacity of Australia’s Indigenous cultural and creative community.

The Academy stressed that while its submission focused on the economic impact and benefits, it also recognised the significant cultural and social benefits that flow to individuals, communities and the nation from cultural and creative activity.