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HomeTheindustryobserverParliament wants streamers to pay for local content, backs national cultural plan

Parliament wants streamers to pay for local content, backs national cultural plan

Streaming companies should dig deep and help fund the creation of homegrown content; the Office of the Arts should be re-established as an actual, named department; and a national cultural plan should be a cornerstone of the future.

Those are some of the recommendations of parliament’s long-awaited inquiry, a forward-looking document that maps out the next ten years and beyond for the cultural and creative industries.

Published Wednesday (Oct. 27), the report, titled “Sculpting a National Cultural Plan: Igniting a post-COVID economy for the arts‘ suggests streaming video platforms will play a important role in years to come, and not just in the delivery of music and video.

Video streamers should be legislated to spend at least 20 per cent of their local revenue on new Australian content, with that cash plugged into new dramas, documentaries, kid’s content, commissions, co-productions or content acquisitions.

The report does fall short, however, of calling on music-streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music, to do the same for recording artists. 

All told, 21 recommendations are made “that will support the recovery of the industry, maximise employment, and contribute to economic growth,” comments House of Representatives Communications and the Arts Committee Chair, Dr Anne Webster MP.

“A healthy, sustainable arts industry will allow Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions to emerge from the COVID-19 public health emergency and allow Australia’s arts to reach new heights,” she continues.

The committee also recommends a national cultural plan “to assess the medium and long term needs of the sector,” the creation of a fourth cross-curriculum priority for the arts and the launch of a music access assistance programme.

Those commitments and more “will be integral to ensure a vision for Australian music can be realised,” comments APRA AMCOS CEO Ormston, whose organisation made a submission to the inquiry.

“Australia is already a music nation,” he explains. “We know that live music alone is worth $16 billion a year in economic, social and cultural benefits.”

With the right approach “to the teaching of music and songwriting in schools, removal of unnecessary red tape around live music and cultural activity, better support for local content on all broadcast and digital platforms, incentives targeting more local music creation for screen and a whole of government approach for music to support export, trade, cultural diplomacy, health and communities,” Ormston continues.

“Australia can achieve not only its vision to be just one of a handful of nations that are net exporters of music, but establish itself as a music powerhouse.”

Dean Ormston
Dean Ormston

The bipartisan report is the result of a process that began in August 2020, during the darkest days of the pandemic, when Minister for Communications, Hon Paul Fletcher MP asked the Committee to inquire into and report on Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions.

As bushfires raged on in late 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a shock announcement with a ministerial restructure in which, for the first time, there would be no government department with the word “arts” in its brief.

By dissolving arts into a department that would also oversee roads and rail, was an insult and an oversight at best, a looming nightmare for creative sector at worst.

At the time, Omston called for a “whole of government approach” and admitted the loss of ‘arts’ from the department title was “disappointing.”

Those renewed calls to restore the title of “arts” to government will be met with muted applause from the creative industries.

Certainly, notes Ormston, “it is past time to create a standalone ‘Ministry for Culture and the Creative Industries’ to recognise the vast impact the sector has on the cultural, economic and social life of the nation.”

While advocates for the music makers welcome the recommendations to develop a national cultural plan, calls on the Australian government to facilitate this vision must be “matched by serious investment and a whole of government approach to the sector,” Ormston added.

Not everything in the report sits well with the creatives. APRA AMCOS expressed disappointment at a recommendation to direct the Productivity Commission to inquire into the legislation around arts funding.

“The Productivity Commission has a trust deficit with local artists and APRA AMCOS will actively seek that government find a truly independent body more appropriate to deal with the complexity of the cultural and creative economy especially as it relates to music and music creators,” Ormston continues.

The 227-page document can be found here

Link to the source article – https://theindustryobserver.thebrag.com/parliament-national-cultural-plan-report/

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