Live Performance Australia has called on the new Australian Government, to be elected on 2 July, to commit $128 million to live performance over the next four years. The organisation has outlined election policy priorities in six key areas, focusing on sustainability and growth. Australia’s live performance industry is worth $2.5 billion and provides 34,000 jobs.
“Australia’s live performance industry supports jobs, contributes to economic growth and drives innovation,” said Andrew Kay, president of Live Performance Australia. “Governments need to put in place policies that will support the long term growth and sustainability of the industry, so that creative and talented Australians can share their work with audiences in capital cities and country towns, as well as build our international reputation through overseas touring.”
Live Performance Australia urges the Government to restore $72.8 million cut from the Australia Council and to make the Catalyst programme more transparent. The organisation also argues that investment should be stimulated through tax incentives on pre-production costs for live performances and the founding of a seed fund for large, original works.
A study conducted by Ernst and Young and commissioned by Live Performance Australia showed that a 40% tax offset could lead to the creation of 555 productions and 4,650 jobs, while increasing industry turnover by $1.2 billion.
In addition, the Government is asked to provide more leadership for the creative industries, by creating a strategic plan, establishing a “cross-cutting, 21st century government agency”, adding the arts to the innovation and STEM agenda, and renewing the Live Music Office’s funding.
The importance of regional areas is also recognised. Live Performance Australia asks the Government to change Playing Australia by boosting funding and expanding eligibility guidelines, double the number of organisations with National Touring Status, provide funding for commercial producers wanting to tour regionally and assist trialling of digital incentives for presenting live productions.
Meanwhile, the need to expand the global profile of Australia’s creative industries is acknowledged, in a call for greater investment for international touring of Australian productions and continued funding of Sounds Australia.
Finally, the organisation argues that the Australian Bureau of Statistics should be given the resources to collect data concerning the creative industries regularly and that economic and social metrics should be established and collected.
“Given the economic and social contribution made by the live performance industry, this represents a relatively modest investment that would provide greater strategic direction and certainty for our industry,” said Evelyn Richardson, chief executive of Live Performance Australia.