4147.4.55.001 - Culture and Recreation News, Oct 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/10/2011   
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One of the most significant events over the past six months has been the release in August, by Arts Minister Simon Crean, of the discussion paper for the National Cultural Policy. This policy aims, over the next ten years, to ensure progress is made in the areas of culture and the arts and that this progress can be measured. The discussion paper sets out four goals which consider the contribution made by culture and the arts in both economic and social terms and the role of new technologies in how people experience the arts and culture. You can have your say about the goals and strategies described in the discussion paper by responding to the link on the Office for the Arts website.

On the international stage Melbourne recently hosted the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture presented by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies. Attendees came from all parts of the world. Issues covered in the plenary and panels sessions included changing geopolitical influences; structural inequities in the distribution of, and access to, resources between developing and developed countries; climate change and environmental sustainability; increasingly sophisticated information and communication technologies; and a constantly evolving cultural diversity. These are powerful drivers that influence the strategic, policy and funding frameworks for arts councils, cultural agencies and governments around the world. Of direct interest was the panel session entitled 'Finally - the numbers'. This session was well attended and highlighted the important role that statistics play within the arts and culture sector.


Users of ABS Culture and Sport and Physical Recreation statistics will have noticed that the ABS website now has a Topics @ a Glance page for each of these subjects. Given the importance of these topics to Australian society we have worked to give each their own identity on the website. The format has also changed in a way that will, hopefully, make it easier for you to locate information. Similarly we have changed the format of the Statistical Overviews for both Arts and Sport. We are adopting a rolling release process which allows the compendium to be updated more frequently as new data becomes available rather than a single annual release at the end of each year.

At the end of August the 2009-10 ABS Cultural Funding by Government results were released. This annual publication showed that for 2009-10 total government funding of cultural activities was $6.7 billion, an increase of 2% on the previous year. State and territory governments contributed just under half while the Australian government contributed just over a third. Activities relating to the 2010-11 collection will soon be getting underway.

June saw the release of the sixth edition of 'Perspectives on Sport'. This publication provides a different perspective on issues related to sport and physical recreation. Articles in this edition were: Stats & Facts, Sporting Facilities; A Profile of Spectators at Selected Sporting Events 2009-10, Who will you be sitting next to?; A Serve of All Things Tennis, Wimbledon 2011; and Sport's Unsung Heroes, Involvement in Non-Playing Roles. I hope you find these articles of interest. As always we would be pleased to hear from you about potential topics.

In the previous newsletter I reported that the ABS was now conducting the Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation survey on a biennial basis. The 2011-12 survey is currently in the field with results expected in late 2012. This change to the frequency of the survey has only been possible with the support of the Committee of Australian Sport and Recreation Officials (or CASRO), formerly known as the Standing Committee on Recreation and Sport (or SCORS).

An important initiative currently being undertaken by the ABS is MAP 2.0 - the consultation process aimed at improving the ABS flagship publication Measures of Australia's Progress (cat. no. 1370.0). As an independent agency, the ABS must assess issues from a non-political viewpoint, taking into account the views of the community. The ABS is hoping to help articulate and gather the progress goals from the public, so that it can developing a new framework for MAP that will better measure Australia's progress. You can provide feedback by contributing to the blog on the ABS website, providing a written submission or contacting an ABS Office. MAP includes measures relating to arts and culture as well as sport and physical recreation so I urge you to have a look.

As always, I hope you find this newsletter both informative and interesting. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about the work of the National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics please feel free to contact us.

Andrew Middleton