“It has been underfunded by government for many years with a declining investment in people and programs. While the state has experienced a 36% growth in population over the last twelve years, the investment by government in arts and culture has shrunk from 1.12% in 2002 to less than 0.5% of the total state budget.”
The Chamber's statement continued;
Western Australians understand that arts and culture is a vital and embedded facet of our community. It enriches our emotional lives, health, education, tourism, society and cultural identity. 95% of West Australians consider it important for children to access arts and cultural activities as part of their education. Over 70% of the community believe that government investment in the arts should be increased.
The lack of investment by government has been masked by the contribution of the corporate sector mainly through the large resource companies. As this income stream has diminished in line with a slowing economy it now becomes incumbent on government to support the diversification of the economy by increasing its support for arts and culture.
The investment in regional arts activity through Royalties for Regions has confirmed the sector’s ability to strengthen communities, drive tourism opportunities and provide a sense of place.
Western Australia has the oldest continuously practised culture in the world and is home to extraordinary creative music, visual, literary, performing and other artists. With the right investment, these unique qualities give Western Australia the potential to provide visitors with cultural experiences that make this state stand apart from the world.
“Our submission shows that arts and culture has achieved significant financial and social return on investment through our artists, arts organisations, festivals and screen industry, said Chamber Chair, Helen Cook.
“But there is so much more that could be achieved with vision, collaboration and relatively modest additional State funding. The arts have an ability to generate jobs, bring much needed vibrancy to the outer metropolitan regions and be a unique tourism attractor for Western Australia.
Download the Chamber's Election Policy Platform here