In Australia and internationally, there is strong interest in the role of ‘cultural’ and ‘creative’ activity in the economy, such as highlighted by Australia’s National Cultural Policy Creative Australia. These terms are often used to describe activities connected with the arts, media, heritage, design, fashion and information technology.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publishes statistics for selected cultural and creative activities in Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview (cat. no. 4172.0). However there remains a need – particularly in government and academia – for holistic estimates of the economic contribution made by cultural and creative activity in Australia.
To advance the development of these economic measures, the ABS conducted a study on the feasibility of producing cultural and creative activity satellite accounts for Australia. Satellite accounts provide economic estimates for selected areas of interest in a manner that is linked to, but distinct from, the national accounts.
The feasibility study was undertaken in consultation with the federal and state government organisations comprising the Cultural Ministers’ Statistics Working Group, and with Australian academics. The study sought to:
- clarify what stakeholders need from the satellite accounts;
- develop practical definitions of cultural and creative activity for use in the satellite accounts;
- identify a suitable statistical model for the accounts and the availability of data to fit the model;
- identify remedies for significant data gaps; and
- prioritise the actions required to develop and/or improve the quality of the satellite accounts.
The feasibility study concluded it is possible for the ABS to construct Australian cultural and creative activity satellite accounts with a reasonable level of quality using currently available data. The feasibility study’s findings and the ABS’ proposals for constructing the accounts were published in June 2013 in Discussion Paper: Cultural and Creative Activity Satellite Accounts (cat. no. 5271.0.55.001). The discussion paper also invited stakeholders to comment on the ABS’ proposals so this feedback could be taken into account before the ABS’ views were finalised.
The purpose of this information paper is to present the ABS’ final views and plans to take this work forward. Section 2 provides a brief outline of the proposals presented in the discussion paper. Section 3 summarises the common themes from stakeholders’ feedback and provides an ABS response to these. Section 4 provides conclusions and the next steps to produce the satellite accounts.