Creative Industries response fails to commit to the regions and training

The NSW Government’s response to the Creative Industries Action Plan falls short on tangible support for the regions and training for the sector’s future, according to Greens MPs Jan Barham and John Kaye.

Greens NSW Arts spokesperson Jan Barham said, “The Government’s response presents a lost opportunity. They have supported some important, big-ticket initiatives with a Sydney focus, including the Vivid festival and a Digital Innovation Precinct cluster in Ultimo and Pyrmont. But what is missing is support for regional communities, where economic and employment opportunities are desperately needed and where a lot of creative people are relocating.”

“As the creative success in the Northern Rivers demonstrates, there is a trend for creative people to move to rural and regional areas. This can revitalise regional areas and provide new opportunities for tourism growth through public art, vibrant music and handcrafted items such as fashion and jewellery. The increase in internet shopping and broadband availability is also providing major opportunities for regional growth in creative industries.

“As a creative hub, employment in the Northern Rivers’ arts and creative industries grew 25% faster than the rest of NSW’s regional economy, and more than doubled the Sydney growth rate between 2001 and 2006. This trend should be expanded on as a model throughout the regions, but the Government delivered no major financial support for this important industry sector.”

“The Northern Rivers has proven success stories in the creative industries. In recent years, the locally produced ABC series ‘East of Everything ‘ proved that the skills and talent exist in the region, and it delivered huge economic and employment opportunities. And this year the North Coast production company, Mememe Productions, were awarded an International Digital Emmy Award at Cannes in the category of Children and Young People for their Dirtgirlworld .. .dig it all project.

“New creative areas such as digital productions are at a crucial stage. The continuation of Government programs such as the Interactive Media Fund is vital to keeping NSW at the forefront of these emerging creative areas.

“The Government response has not identified any significant financial investment in this field and that could be a great loss for what is a vibrant and celebrated part of the cultural creative sector,” said Ms Barham.

Greens NSW Education spokesperson John Kaye said, “The government’s refusal to reinstate the $800 million it cut from TAFE makes their commitment to improve the creative industries in NSW a vacuous promise. Ending subsidies for Fine Arts TAFE courses and the resulting astronomical increases in course fees have made it increasingly difficult for those with a passion for the creative industries to follow this path.

“The government’s response also completely ignores the informal, cultural and social benefits of a thriving creative industry. Creative opportunities can provide stress relief, improve confidence, develop new skills, offer alternative income and enhance community vibrancy.

“The government is keen to exploit the financial potential of the creative industries yet the Minister is not prepared to invest to secure a pool of new talent.

“For many it takes a long time to make creative operations financially viable. The prospect of huge TAFE fees will undoubtedly discourage many budding artists.

“The O’Farrell government must reverse its cuts to TAFE and increase investment in the creative industries across the state,” Dr Kaye said.