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The Arts- They Matter More Than We Think!

Monday, 28th April 2003 at 1:04 pm
Staff Reporter
The profile to emerge from Some Australian Arts Statistics, published by the Australia Council today, shows that Australians love their arts. And it’s growing!

Monday, 28th April 2003
at 1:04 pm
Staff Reporter



The Arts- They Matter More Than We Think!
Monday, 28th April 2003 at 1:04 pm

The profile to emerge from Some Australian Arts Statistics, published by the Australia Council today, shows that Australians love their arts. They are hungry for cinema, reading, participating and learning in the arts. And it’s growing!

The latest figures show the total number of people attending cultural venues and activities is up from 11.670 million to 12.616 million.

The new research shows a value to the Australian economy of about $8 billion and further debunks the myth that we are a nation more committed to sporting events than to cultural activities.

The latest statistics reveal that in a 12-month period almost 85% of all adult Australians attended a cultural event or performance.

Chief Executive Officer of the Australia Council, Jennifer Bott says the arts matter more than we think. After decades of real growth in Australian culture the arts have become a substantial part of our lives and our economy. There is a wealth of evidence of the impact of public support for, and our participation in the arts in Australia.

Bott says these findings build on earlier research published by the Australian Film Commission and from the Saatchi & Saatchi report Australians and the Arts that Australians want creative programs and activities that tell Australian stories with our own images and voices.

The value to the Australian economy by the arts and related industry groups was about $8 billion in 1999-2000. This makes the arts industry bigger than the beer, wine and spirits industries combined, and slightly less than half the size of the banking sector.

Australians are spending about $10 billion each year on a wide range of arts and cultural goods through retail businesses in Australia. This includes about $1 billion on books, $840 million on pre-recorded CDs, $270 million on musical instruments, and $250 million on artworks and crafts.

As well as identifying the top arts and cultural activities that Australians attend, the report provides statistics on what Australians are spending on the arts, the economic importance of the arts, the state of arts education, the number of people employed in the arts and how Australians use their free time.

It also addresses government funding for the arts, business sponsorship and donations and how these compare with other sectors.

How much is Government funding the arts?
· Government sources provide about $4,455 million each year in Australia for a wide range of arts, cultural and heritage purposes (as defined by UNESCO). · The Federal Government provides about 37 per cent of this funding, the States/Territories about 44 per cent and local government about 20 per cent.

Has funding increased?
· Funding for Arts and Heritage purposes by the Federal Government increased about 17 per cent in real terms since 1998-99.
· Funding for Arts and Heritage purposes by the States and territories combined increased about 1 per cent in real terms since 1998-99.
· Funding for Arts and Heritage purposes by local government across Australia increased about 8 per cent in real terms since 1998-99.)
14. Has business sponsorship of the arts increased?
· Businesses in Australia provided a total of $1,447million in payments to organisations and individuals in the form of donations, sponsorships and other kind of community support in 2000-01. Of this total, about five per cent was given to arts and cultural organisations. This amounted to about $70 million in 2000-01. · Of this $70 million total, about $40 million was in the form of sponsorships and $23 million was provided as donations; the remaining $6 million was in the form of ‘business to community’ projects.

(This ABS report is the first of its kind; previous statistics on business sponsorship of the arts cannot be directly compared with these figures)

The Australia Council has published a report on the current state of arts in Australia regularly since 1982. Last published in 1996, the sixth edition of the arts data series is a free, accessible statistical encyclopedia on the arts in Australia. It is produced in collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Details of the number of people attending arts events in each of the States and Territories are available from the Cultural Ministers Council’s Statistics Working Group website,,0_6-2_4010-4_112503,00.html

If you would like a copy of Some Australian Arts Statistics in .pdf format just send us an email to

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