Securing the future

Dept Comms IT and the Arts,
17 December 1999, Australia

This is the Final Report of the Inquiry into the Major Performing Arts. The 31 major performing arts companies that are the subject of this Inquiry make a disproportionate artistic, access and financial contribution to Australian life. In the subsidised performing arts sector, they represent 17% of the number of companies and receive 49% of the government funding, but rovide 86% of the employment, bring in 79% of the total self-generated income and reach 71% of the total paying audiences.
However, the demographic, technology and globalisation trends that are affecting other parts of the economy have put the major performing arts sector under great strain. The resulting deterioration in the companies financial performance has adversely impacted their artistic vibrancy and accessibility. The viability of the sector and the survival of many companies are threatened. This Report, when read with the Discussion Paper released in August 1999, outlines the nature of those challenges, the principles that have guided the Inquiry and the conclusions the Inquiry has reached. The Inquiry has sought a balanced and interconnected solution in reaching the 94 recommendations contained in this Report, which are designed to stabilise the sector and reposition it to take advantage of the changes that are taking place. The fundamental principles on which the Inquiry's recommendations are based are that Australia should have a vibrant major performing arts sector that enriches Australian life and builds its image as an innovative and sophisticated nation; that Australia should cost-effectively deliver broad access to the major performing arts recognising that the arts are for everyone; and that Australia should have a financially viable major performing arts sector that supports artistic vibrancy. In addition, given the essential role governments play in the sector, the Inquiry endorses the principle that government support for the major performing arts should be transparent and should be based on an understanding of the responsibilities of all parties.
The Inquiry makes 41 recommendations for actions by governments.