The Australian arts and culture sector is in dire need of a ‘complete public-led reboot’ according to a new report published by Australia’s Institute Centre for Future Work.
A sector in limbo, Australian creatives have been dealt their latest bad hand in the form of COVID-19, according to the report.
Creativity in Crisis: Rebooting Australia’s arts and entertainment sector after COVID-19 is armed with a bunch of recommendations for the government on how this reboot could roll out.
Some of those recommendations include wage subsidies, long-term funding for arts organisations, investments into rebuilding skills and jobs, intervention in cultural regulations and a holistic plan for culture across Australia.
Other recommendations include the reversal of austerity cuts to national cultural institutions and a significant rebuilding of arts education.
The report – commissioned by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and written by Senior Economist Alison Pennington and Monash University’s Dr Ben Eltham – digs deep into the ongoing impact of the pandemic on Australia’s arts and culture sector.
It also acknowledges that decades of policy failures and ‘destructive government financing trends’ have given rise to the fragile state of the Australian arts and culture scene, despite its $17 billion contribution to the economy in 2018-2019.
In the report, Dr Ben Eltham said the Morrison government’s response to the pandemic has been ‘late and inadequate’.
“The Morrison government’s attacks on universities, the ABC and local production quotas are all bad news for the future of Australian culture.
The pandemic has changed the way we think about creativity and culture. Australians have turned to the arts in their time of need, embracing cultural pastimes during extended lockdowns. We have rediscovered the value of culture, even as the pandemic has spread,” he said.
And that sentiment is true – as we’ve conquered lockdowns, missed loved ones and had our lives turned upside down, arts and culture have never let us down.
Whether it’s free online yoga classes or movie marathons, boogies to Triple J or attending Splendour XR, COVID-19 has reminded us how close humans hold entertainment to our hearts.
We might be aboard a sinking ship thanks to COVID-19, but transforming the arts and culture sector is a responsibility that we can all take on.
Arts and culture are at the heart of community – and there’s no substitute for that.
Photo: Markus Winkler