The Childers Group 2022-2023 Budget Submission

The Childers Group 2022-2023 Budget Submission

For ten years the Childers Group has been contributing to the development of the ACT budget through ACT Treasury’s budget consultation process.

The Childers Group welcomes the opportunity to provide input into the 2022-2023 ACT Government Budget development process.

The Childers Group is an independent arts forum established in 2011. Our advocacy is based on the principles of:

  • independence;
  • objectivity;
  • valuing the arts; and
  • pride in Australia’s national capital city and the surrounding region.

The Group has delivered yearly forums, involved MLA representation from the three main political parties, held a variety of meetings with stakeholders such as the Cultural Facilities Corporation and advocated our ideas with the ACT Government, the Federal Government, and the Australia Council for the Arts.

Consequently, what follows is informed, considered, and situated in a national policy context.

Opening Statement:

Covid19 : The Childers Group would like to acknowledge the swift action that the Government took in relation to additional funding made available to the arts throughout the Covid 19 pandemic. The 3 Homefront programs and support given to our Key Arts Organisations was crucial and has been greatly appreciated by the sector.

The Creative Recovery and Resilience (CRRP) Program has also been a very welcome initiative to the sector as it slowly moves out of the initial Covid19 situation.

Minister Cheyne’s Statement of Ambition 2021-2026 has been positively received and the sector looks forward to working with the Minister in bringing the statement to “life”.

We look forward to the announcement by the Minister of the new Arts Policy and the arts organisation funding framework.

A brief summary of our submission.

As the arts sector slowly begins its recovery from Covid the Childers Group acknowledges the Government’s ongoing support for the arts and creative industries.

Canberra one of the most liveable cities in the world. This achievement is due in part to the rich diversity of creative opportunity available to us to experience and participate in. With the growth of our city and surrounding regions, we must be courageous and imaginative in ensuring these opportunities grow with us. As our city has grown the contribution from government to arts funding has not grown to match it.

We strongly recommend that if we are to move forward meaningfully with the Minister’s Statement of Ambition it must be met with increased investment into the arts portfolio. This needs to be for our Key Arts Organisations, our small to medium companies and our individual artists. Research shows that increased investment brings measurable outcomes, not only for the artists and companies concerned but for society more widely.

With the adoption of the ACT Government’s Wellbeing Framework Childers Group believes that the arts can play a central role in bringing the framework into focus and can generate real measurable returns for the arts investment.

What more can the ACT Government do to improve community well-being in Canberra?

The Wellbeing Framework

We note that as of May 2022 there is still no data or comments in relation to the impact of arts and culture in the Framework.

Across the 12 Domains of the Framework the arts can play a significant role. We note that

Research done by the Canberra based arts, creativity and culture research think tank A New Approach (ANA) ( ) clearly shows :

“…when a considered effort is made to direct cultural and creative activities towards improving social cohesion , the impacts are significant including :

  • building feelings of community belonging and trust, enhancing empathy and inclusion
  • help in combating the growing issues of loneliness and isolation.
  • increasing civic participation and making cities, suburbs and regions more liveable
  • help individuals and communities recover from disasters and trauma”.

In relation to building a healthier Australia ANA research has shown that :

  • “engagement with arts and cultural activities reduces health risks particularly for mental health
  • arts and cultural tools have also been successfully used to improve outcomes in terms of both prevention and treatment of physical illnesses and diseases.
  • the arts can improve in-patient outcomes, can improve recovery from long term conditions, can reduce dementia risk and can improve elderly quality of life.”

Community Arts and Cultural work along the lines mentioned above is already being successfully done in programs run by Belconnen and Tuggeranong Arts Centres. This work needs to be expanded.

Where are our arts programs in our prison, our hospitals, our walk-in health centres, our senior citizen homes? Where are our arts programs that work with youth at risk? What are the needs of our Indigenous community and what are they saying is important for their wellbeing and how can the arts assist in that?

Childers Group would argue that in relation to the 12 Domains of the Framework the question should be : How can the Arts be used to reach the aspirations for wellbeing in each area??

What are your top three priorities for the COVID-19 economic recovery?

Every Canberran should have access to the key arts organisations to inspire and engage them. Every Canberran artist should have a key arts organisation that will support them to grow and develop. And every visitor to Canberra should be able to find the key arts organisation that invites them to share in the wonderful cultural life of our city.



The Childers Group notes that the KAO’S funding agreements are being brought into alignment, in 2022, and that this will offer the ACT Government an unprecedented opportunity to maintain a network of key arts organisations that provides comprehensive cultural services to the Territory, across geography, artform and level of practice. Because of the fragility of the arts sector this alignment needs to be done with sensitivity and good consultation.


As result of the ongoing impact of Covid19 the Childers Group encourages the ACT Government to continue to fund the stability of our ACT’s Key Arts Organisations to fulfil their potential and support their sustainable growth.


The Childers Group believes that there still is an ongoing significant decline in ACT arts grants funding on a per capita basis, and as a proportion of funds available to Government. This is also happening on a national basis as reported in the first research paper prepared by the independent arts think tank A New Approach. The paper noted declines in Federal and State Funding to the Arts but noted that the one level where there was an increase was in the Local Council area. Unfortunately, the ACT does not have this “local council level” of funding.

A Post Covid 19 Boost : Special Funding Increase for the Arts Activities Funding – $5000-$50000 sector

The “small to medium” companies and independent individual artist sector of the grants funding process is the engine room for the growth of exciting and new arts activities in the ACT.

These projects reveal where our new artists and our great “new works and companies” are created and it is Childers view that this needs to continue to grow and be funded appropriately.

Involvement and funding should prioritise local artists in major ACT large events, eg. Floriade/Enlighten and other festivals. Opportunity to apply for these should be made earlier and more open for our local artists.


The Childers Group strongly advocates for an increase of an extra $4,500,000 into the Arts Portfolio for the 2022-23 Budget.


Currently, the arts are not adequately integrated within policymaking or service delivery at a whole of government level. For comparison, there are existing strategic objectives to achieve ‘higher than average participation in sport and physical and recreational activities.

No such strategic objective has been stated for the Arts. Cultural Tourism would appear to be an obvious inclusion given the strategic importance and economic benefits of cultural tourism to the region.


Childers Group recommends that the ACT Government establish links between Government Directorates to maximize Arts Development in the ACT and region. Stronger links between arts practitioners (companies and individuals) , Events Canberra and Visit Canberra need to be pursued with some urgency. Tourism and the Arts are a strong area for ongoing development.

The Government should commit to incorporating clear Strategic Objectives for the Arts and Cultural sector within the ACT Government’s Budget Objectives.

The Childers Group looks forward to engaging with government over our Budget Submission in the next few months.

Yours Sincerely

Michael White

On behalf of the Childers Group

May 2022


2022 : A new year begins for The Childers Group and our work in 2021

2022 : A new year begins for The Childers Group

Another year commences and the Childers Group will continue its advocacy for the arts and culture in Canberra and the Region. The last 2 years have been extremely difficult for local artists and we are confident that the arts will once again flourish.



  • We have had our first meeting for the year with Arts Minister Tara Cheyne :
  • Areas covered included her Statement of Ambition and the development of a new arts policy (our last policy is from 2015). This process will be driven by artsACT and will include targeted and detailed consultation with the arts sector, KAO’s, education institutions, ACT Business. It is hoped that the process will be concluded over 6 weeks. The Minister’s Creative Council has new members and they will play a strong role. The Minister asked Childers to look at possible vehicles that could assist in delivering her Statement of Ambition ( well received by the arts sector ) with a particular focus on Strategy 3 : Promoting our Arts and Culture.
  • Minister Cheyne mentioned that this year’s ACT Budget will be brought down on 2nd August and urged ACT artists and organisations to give their input through the Have Your Say webpage.
  • 2022-23 Budget Consultation –
  • We have also met with Jo Clay, Greens arts spokesperson and had a wide-ranging discussion about issues facing the arts coming out of Covid19 and lockdown. Jo also stressed the importance of artists and organisations partaking in the Budget Consultation process as mentioned above. She stressed that the short Budget Survey is an excellent and quick way to get involved.

Our work in 2021 :

  • we met with Arts Minister Tara Cheyne, Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee, Shadow Arts Minister Lawder, Greens arts spokesperson Jo Clay plus Assembly members : Michael Pettersson, Mark Parton, Peter Cain and Jonathan Davis
  • we attended regular monthly meetings of The Canberra Region Tourism Leaders Forum :
  • continued our meetings with Kate Fielding, CEO of A New Approach ( national arts and culture think tank based here in Canberra)
  • continued meeting with the Chair of the Ministers Creative Council
  • lodged our Budget Submission with ACT Government for the 2021-2022 budget ( Childers has been doing these submissions since 2013)
  • continued our strong partnership with the Cultural Facilities Corporation
  • continued liaison with Music ACT
  • Childers members have played an active role in the Canberra Artists Action Group (CAAG)
  • Childers members have played an active role in National arts advocacy
  • Lobbied federal politicians around issues with Jobkeeper and Jobseeker programs


Good News from MusicACT and ACT Government

Amp It Up! A $700,000 fund to support live gigs in Canberra.

The ACT Government has just announced Amp It Up! A fund to support live gigs in Canberra.

The fund will inject $700,000 into small to medium local live music and performance venues to assist them to recover after the impacts of COVID-19.
These local venues are so critical to Canberra’s night-time economy and the character of our city centres, and integral to the development and employment of local artists.
With Amp It Up!, local venues can apply for a grant of up to $60,000 to offset the costs associated with the programming and promotion of gigs from 1 June to 30 November 2021. This includes up to 100% of costs associated with engaging artists and technicians and up to 50% of the marketing costs.

At least half of the programmed performances need to be local – ensuring we’re supporting our amazing local talent while also attracting interstate acts and giving the touring community confidence that the ACT is open for business. This funding coincides with the recent announcement that these venues can work with the Chief Health Officer in seeking exemptions to increase their capacity for live events.

Applications will open on 3 May and MusicACT stands ready to support venues and host an industry information session at 4pm on Friday 30 April at @sidewaycbr.

2020 : What a year and forward into 2021: Childers Group Report

2020 will no doubt go down as one of the most difficult for Canberra and Region arts workers. Covid-19 virtually closed down our sector locally and nationally. Many lost not only their “arts jobs” but also their “other jobs” they might work in to help pay the bills.

Canberra Artists Action Group (CAAG) reformed during this period and weekly zoom meetings were held to give advice and assistance to artsworkers. This was extremely helpful for the sector and Childers members played an active role in those meetings.

Childers also lobbied and advocated for the arts to our local ACT Arts Minister, our federal local politicians and took part in national meetings of various arts advocacy bodies. One of the best outcomes was the introduction of the Homefront Arts Grants ($500k) by the ACT Government and the Arts Minister. ACT was one of the first governments to produce an arts rescue package as part of their overall economic plan ($1.5million) and for that quick response the sector was extremely grateful. They also offered considerable support to our Key Arts Organisations. Childers would also like to thank staff at artsACT for all the fantastic work they did during 2020.

In the lead up to the ACT election Childers Group organised its traditional arts election forum. We have done this for the past 3 elections. It was held via Zoom and was extremely well attended ( over 100 people ) and gave members of Labor, the Greens and Canberra Liberals an opportunity to propose their election platforms.

As a result of the election, the Arts Minister for the previous Assembly, Gordon Ramsay was not re-elected. Childers believes that Gordon did a fantastic job in his arts portfolio and we will miss our regular meetings with him. We thank him for his service and for his strong advocacy for the arts over the past 4 years.

We welcome new Arts Minister Tara Cheyne and look forward to building a strong relationship with her. ( We have already met with her in early December and had a very positive meeting.)

Childers has already begun our advocacy work with the new assembly members and have had meetings with Jo Clay and Jonathan Davis (Greens), Nicole Lawder (Shadow Arts Minister), Mark Parton and Peter Cain ( Canberra Liberals ) and Michael Pettersson (Labor). Our advocacy plan for the first part of 2021 is to meet with all the new Assembly members.

Childers will also continue advocacy with our Federal Parliamentary members. There is a desperate need to develop a National Cultural Policy.

Childers is also planning an arts forum this year in conjunction with the Cultural Facilities Corporation. More on that to come.

Many challenges lie ahead for the arts sector as we slowly emerge from Covid19. If anyone has thoughts, ideas, suggestions then please contact Childers on :


ACT Arts Election Forum 2020 Report

ACT Arts Election Forum 2020 Report

On 9th September The Childers Group in partnership with the Canberra Artists Action Group (CAAG) held (via Zoom) an ACT Arts Election forum. It was a first “on-line forum” for Childers as our last election forum was held at Gorman House in 2016. How things in our sector have changed.

The forum was moderated by Alex Sloan AM (many thanks) and our three speakers were : Gordon Ramsay MLA (Labor), Vicki Dunne MLA (Liberal) and Jo Clay (Greens).

Over 60 people attended the forum and the response has been very positive. The format for the forum was as follows:

  • We would like you to state your party’s policy – five minutes maximum
  • We would like you to address 3 specific questions from our arts community which will be provided to you in advance
  • General questions from the floor

The 3 questions were :

  1. What is your party’s key vision for the arts in Canberra and the Region in a post Covid19 world?


  1. The last released ACT Arts policy is dated 2015. Do you think that a new policy needs to be developed. If so how would you go about it and what do you think would be some of the key elements that your party would see as important .


  1. Given :
    • the high value of the arts in development of creative and critical thinking and mental and physical well being,
    • that the main or only arts experiences for many students are at their school or college, and
    • that there are many professional artists who would appreciate secure employment

what is your Party’s policy to ensure quality, expert arts education to students at schools and colleges?  and what is your Party’s policy on providing professional teacher education in the ACT, to meet the need for arts teachers in schools and colleges?

We have also asked the 3 speakers to send through their formal Arts policies which can be found below :

ACT Labor (pages 28-29) :

ACT Greens :

Canberra Liberals : we will post their policy when it is launched

CALL OUT TO THE ACT ARTS COMMUNITY – pre-election Arts Forum 2020 Sept 9th via Zoom


The Childers Group, in conjunction with the Canberra Artists Action Group, is organising an online Arts Forum prior to the ACT Legislative Assembly election.

The forum will be held on Wednesday September 9, from 12.30 to 1.30pm by Zoom.

Please register (free) and send questions in advance to the Childers Group by Friday 4 September. In registering please use ‘Registration for election forum’ in the subject line, and leave your name, art form and email address. Members of the Childers Group and CAAG will select three that seem most pertinent and invite the politicians to respond. A Zoom link will also be sent to registered participants.

The Minister for the Arts, Mr Gordon Ramsay MLA, Ms Vicki Dunne MLA, and the Greens’ Ms Jo Clay have all agreed to speak. After responses, there will be a short time for questions from the floor. The session will finish promptly at 1.30pm.

The Childers Group is very grateful to Ms Alex Sloan AM for agreeing to facilitate the Forum, and we look forward to your participation.

For further information, please either email the Childers Group or Meredith Hinchliffe.


Some recent National Arts Advocacy articles and information in this crisis of Covid19. NAVA, MEAA, LPA, Ausdance, ArtsHub (click to see)

Here’s some advocacy responses across the Arts and Entertainment Sector in response to the crisis of Covid19 that readers of the Childers Group website may find worth reading. ( Thanks to all the authors.)




National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA)


Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA)


Ausdance National



Live Performance Australia


COVID-19 and the Arts Sector

(Apologies for the length of this post)

Hi everyone. I hope you are all okay in this crisis time for the Arts and Cultural Sector across Australia. It’s time to look after each other, wash your hands, keep your distance and stay at home.

COVID-19 is the single biggest disruption to Australia’s cultural life in generations.

Across the nation when arts events are cancelled:

  • hundreds of thousands of artists and artsworkers’ livelihoods are threatened,
  • thousands of small-to-medium companies risk closure because their self-generated income isn’t flowing,
  • the entire arts industry is imperilled,
  • countless workers and businesses are affected in all of the industries that depend on our success such as local and regional hospitality and tourism, and
  • millions of Australians are bereft of social connection and cultural life at a time of worldwide panic.

On the back of summer’s fires and storms, plus the past five years’ funding cuts at all levels of government, this comes at the most vulnerable time the arts industry has ever experienced.

Peak Arts bodies across Australia continue to assess impacts. For example since Saturday 14 March, I Lost My Gig has recorded over $280 million of lost income for creative industry businesses and workers. This represents 255,000 gig/event cancellations, impacting 500,000 people and is just a fraction of the domino impact COVID-19 continues to have.

Canberra is no different with the impact deep and wide.

To date, none of the Australian Government’s stimulus commitments have addressed the industry that was one of the first to be hit by the economic devastation of COVID-19.

The Childers Group wishes to commend the work of Minister for the Arts Paul Fletcher in hosting an industry-wide a roundtable on 17 March, and bringing forward an extraordinary Meeting of Cultural Ministers on 19 March. Minister Fletcher understands what’s needed – and he needs your support to make that happen.

We thank the ACT Government (Minister Ramsay and Chief Minister Barr) for being on the front foot and making the arts sector a part of it’s initial stimulus package. It is much appreciated. Check out artsACT Homefront :

Childers echos the calls of all of Australia’s arts industry bodies in calling for stimulus. All together, a $1bn package is needed: $780m in S2M business stimulus payments; $180m to the Australia Council; and $40m for the Artists’ Benevolent Fund and Support Act. Additionally, a wage fund and subsidy for the freelance and casual workers and sole traders who make up the bulk of the industry will be vital.

Australia’s artists and creative workers lead the nation in innovation – we invented the gig economy and the portfolio career – and only a small fraction ever receive government funding. We’re in crisis right now because our self-generated income has collapsed. Your immediate action can prevent the collapse of our entire industry.

Australia needs to act now. There is so very much at stake.

On the Canberra Artists Action Group(CAAG) Facebook page there is information on Letter/Email writing to our local Federal politicians especially Senator Seselja our Liberal member and Assistant Minister for Finance


Michael White

Convenor of the Childers Group

I’m also on the Government Group at CAAG

Some useful links :

Canberra Artists Action Group (CAAG) :




ilostmygig :







What’s in the 19-20 ACT Budget for the Arts

Money for new capital funding : Ainslie & Gorman House, Strathnairn Arts Centres

Funding for Kulture Break and the Australian National Eisteddfod

Capital works for the Cultural Facilities Corporation

Ongoing support for the new Belconnen Arts Centre theatre

Click on the link below to see the letter from Minister Ramsay to the Childers Group.

Letter from Minister Ramsay to Childers Group re 19-20 Budget


Our 2018 Year and into 2019

The Childers Group had a very busy 2018 carrying on it’s advocacy work on behalf of the arts and artists in the ACT and Region.

During 2018 we continued with our lobbying of ACT Legislative Assembly Members and our Federal Parliamentary Representatives. We also met with the Arts Minister, Mr Gordon Ramsay during the year.

Other Childers activities included : attendance at artsACT and City Renewal seminars and workshops, regular attendance at the new ACT Tourism Forum and meeting with the new ACT International Commissioner, Mr Brendan Smyth. We also made a submission to the Inquiry into the National Cultural Institutions.

So far in 2019 we have had a productive meeting with VisitCanberra.

We also played an active role in community consultation for the 2019/2020 ACT Budget with our annual budget submission.

Our key recommendations are listed below :


The Childers Group encourages the ACT Government to fund the growth of the ACT’s Key Arts Organisations to fulfil their potential and support their sustainable growth as an essential part of what makes the ACT such a great place to live.

The Childers Group analysis of arts grants in the ACT shows that there still is a significant decline in ACT arts grants on a per capita basis, and as a proportion of funds available to Government.

It is Childers Group understanding that if 2019-20 arts activity were funded at an equivalent proportion of Total Government Revenue as in 2004-05, total grants to the arts would be increased by around $2,000,000. Childers would see this needed increase being achieved by an increase of $1,000,000 each Budget year (19-20 and 20-21) leading up to the next ACT election in 2020.


The Childers Group strongly advocates for an increase of an extra $1,000,000 into the Arts Portfolio for the 2019-20 Budget and again in the subsequent Budget 2020-2021 leading into the next ACT election.


  • Are there particular services that you consider the Government should stop delivering or should deliver in a different way?

While it is crucial to recognise the immense direct contribution that arts and culture makes to the quality of life in the ACT, it is also important to factor into strategic whole of government planning, their broader social and economic impact. Through their central role in content creation, arts and culture are inextricably linked to ACT creative industries, which in turn sit at the heart of the knowledge economy of the future. As such they have an important part to play in fostering innovation and fuelling a clever and inventive society in which good design plays a central role in industry, urban environments and public policy.

Currently, the arts are not adequately integrated within policymaking or service delivery at a whole of government level. For comparison, there are existing strategic objectives to achieve ‘higher than average participation in sport and physical and recreational activities’.

No such strategic objective has been stated for the Arts. Cultural Tourism would appear to be an obvious inclusion given the strategic importance and economic benefits of cultural tourism to the region.


The Government should commit to incorporating clear Strategic Objectives for the Arts and Cultural sector within the ACT Government’s Budget Objectives.


Childers Group recommends that the ACT Government establish links between Government Directorates to maximize Arts Development in the ACT and region.

In line with ACT Government strategic priorities of enhanced liveability and social inclusion, suburban renewal and health and education investment, the role of the arts in these areas should be recognised with the establishment of officer positions in ACT Government Directorates, including Education and Training, Health, Environment and Planning, and Capital Metro, at the Senior Officer Grade 3 level, to identify and implement strategies where arts activity can multiply existing value and enrich outcomes. In the first instance, this should be a 3-year initiative.

Establishing and consolidating existing links between artists, arts organisations and the stakeholders of each Directorate should be a key component of the work. For example, engagement in the arts throughout a child’s schooling, including early childhood, has immeasurable benefits which are now both quantifiable and proven in countries that have invested in strong arts programs within their schools.

  • How can the Government deliver current services more efficiently, productively or to better meet the needs of Canberrans?

The Childers Group welcomes the decision by Minister Ramsay after positive consultation with the Arts Sector to form a Minister’s Creative Council.


We seek that the Creative Council be properly resourced in the next Budget so that it can undertake “strategic advice to the ACT Government on the arts and sector issues.”


  • What can the Government do to make Canberra even more liveable?

The Childers Group’s objective is to contribute to the Government’s ability to deliver its agenda in the most effective way – building an understanding of where ACT arts and culture intersects with the national cultural institutions and tourism, the central role of the ACT in the cultural life of the region and the benefits this delivers back to the ACT, the national significance of much of the ACT’s arts and cultural presence, the importance of ACT arts and culture in providing a productive environment for creative and other knowledge-based industries and fostering a clean, clever and inventive society, and the importance of research and evaluation in demonstrating the broad value of the arts.

Partnership with Government

The government continues to make many positive decisions about the arts and we have been in discussions with Minister Ramsay and members of the Assembly about them. We believe that much has been achieved over the recent past and that the ACT arts and culture sector has matured and moved to a new level.

There are still some crucial gaps for us to jointly address, such as critical lack of recognition of the importance of First Nations arts and culture in funding outcomes. The appointment of an Indigenous Arts Officer at artsACT is a major step in this area and Childers group applauds the Government for this decision in the last Budget. This will remain a major concern for us, but also an issue for the Government’s social inclusion strategy, and we will continue to pursue this with Minister Ramsay as a priority.

We also acknowledge the Canberra Wellington Indigenous Artist Exchange pilot which will provide the opportunity for a local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artist to spend up to six weeks in Wellington.

Whole of government and whole of society

The Childers Group believes it is crucial that the arts are seen in terms of “whole of government and whole of budget issues”. The Arts needs to be seen as not the responsibility of only artsACT and its Minister but of “whole of Government”.

This is about the bigger picture for the ACT. As a small self-contained jurisdiction, the ACT can choose areas where it wants to be nation-leading, and the arts is a great candidate for this. The arts sector in the ACT has all the foundations required to be recognised as amongst the best in the country in a relatively short period of time. Much is already underway. To grasp the opportunity requires only political will and only a limited investment of funds compared to other aspirations the Government might have.

Sustainable Canberra – the crucial importance of the clean and clever knowledge economy of the future and the arts and creative industries at its heart

It is crucial to recognise the immense direct contribution that arts and culture makes to the quality of life in the ACT but it is also important to factor into strategic whole of government planning their broader social and economic impact, the substantial secondary benefit they provide. We are pleased that Confident and Business Ready – Building on our Strengths, the ACT Government’s Business Development Strategy clearly acknowledges this. The challenge is to move beyond recognising and acknowledging this to integrating it practically across whole of government day to day work. Often this may not even require new funding but repurposing, refocusing or linking up of existing initiatives.

The arts are a good investment in its own right, but it is also an economic driver and enabler, with far broader outcomes than cultural ones. This is shown clearly by the ACT Government’s 2015 Economic Overview of the Arts. It demonstrated that arts and culture is a significant local economic sector but, far more importantly, it’s indirect economic and social impact is crucial.

The arts are capable of adding value to any other strategy the government has – liveable spaces and creative precincts, improvements in healthcare, links to the major education and research institutions to foster innovation, enhancing social inclusion and valuing the role of diversity in fostering a vibrant and innovative society. The arts are inextricably linked to creative industries and the clean and clever knowledge economy of the future and this is the context in which we would like to discuss them further.

Cool little capital – a desirable place to live, work, visit and invest

The arts has a crucial role to play making the ACT a desirable place to live, work, visit and invest (for the ‘cool little capital’, arts and culture is much of the cool). Interestingly, the Economic Overview of the Arts noted that 40% of ACT population growth comes from interstate and international migration, so creating an attractive place to live and work is critical to this driver of economic growth.

Sustainable tourism means cultural tourism

It is noteworthy that the ACT Government 2015 Economic Overview of the Arts pointed out that amongst people who had not visited the ACT recently, Canberra’s appeal was scored poorly, but ranked above Hobart and Sydney (and almost equal with Melbourne) for appeal by those who had recently visited the ACT. These findings point to a high quality, but poorly understood, artistic and cultural tourism experience in the ACT.

Visitors to large blockbuster exhibitions at the national cultural institutions can augment their visitor experience when a wide-ranging, dynamic cultural milieu exists, so the whole visit is a rich and stimulating one. This increases the likelihood of longer and repeat visits.