New research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, written by Senior Economist Alison Pennington and Monash University’s Ben Eltham, 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 following the crisis.
- The arts and entertainment sector is a significant employer in Australia that makes a substantial contribution to the economy.
- 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.
However, due to their disproportionately insecure and precarious labour market conditions, arts and entertainment sector workers are experiencing significant ruptures in their employment arrangements due to COVID-19 and the federal government has not adequately responded to the scale and severity of the crisis.
- Looking ahead, adequate support to rebuild the sector should include: expanding funding to community arts organisations and artists; introducing a new Commonwealth creative fellowships program; creating a whole-of-Australia public streaming platform; introducing an Australian content quota on all services, including international streaming platforms; introducing a digital platforms levy to fund a merged-content production fund; better coordinating cultural policy between federal, state and local government levels, especially during the COVID-19 recovery; and strengthening pay and conditions for arts and entertainment sector workers.