Major Performing Arts Companies_Fast Facts_The Business

Australia’s arts and entertainment sector underpins cultural and social innovation, improves the quality of community life, is essential to maintaining our cities as world class attractors of talent and investment, and helps create ‘Brand Australia’ in the global marketplace of ideas.

Major Performing Arts Companies_Fast Facts_The Business



The creative industries are major contributors to GDP

The creative industries contributed $31.1 billion towards GDP in 2007–08. This is greater than a number of traditional industries such as: agriculture and fishing, communications, accommodation and hospitality, and the supply of electricity-water-gas.

Despite generally difficult economic conditions, in 2011 the Australian live performance sector generated $1.3 billion in revenue.

Australian feature films earned $42.9 million or 3.9 per cent of the total Australian box office in 2011 which is on par with Australia’s major opera companies’ ticket sales alone. The28 Australian major performing arts companies as a group generated over 4 times this income in ticket sales with a box office revenue in 2011 of $176.2 million.


The creative workforce is growing

Almost half a million people make up the total creative workforce. This is 5.3 per cent of the Australian workforce, and growing.

The music and performing arts sector employs an estimated 7 per cent of all creative industries workers, with employment in music and theatre growing in line with the economy as a whole (according to the 2006 Census because the data is not yet analysed for the 2011 Census).

In 2006, of the 109 160 arts employment position, almost 24 000 people were employed in artist occupations and just over 58 000 people were employed directly within the arts.

The major performing arts companies are reliable employers of creative talent

In 2011 the major performing arts companies directly employed 8540 people, including 5438 artists and creatives—full-time, part-time, seasonal and casual, which is equivalent to more than 2848 full-time positions.

Employment participation in the major companies has grown 159% since 1998, increasing from 3300 to 8540 people.

Major performing arts companies have strong relationships with individual artists and small to medium companies, and promote research and development. These opportunities have led to employment progression, development of artistic practice and stronger connections between performing arts companies.

The impact of the major performing arts companies on jobs is multiplied when taking into account the number of people working in the wider music and performing arts sectors, which these companies support or through which many people have gained valuable career development and experience.


The major performing arts companies are value for money

Through the Australia Council, the Federal Government provided base funding to the 28 major performing arts companies valued at $94 million in 2011.

The major performing arts companies then went on to attract $265 million in earned income, continued to build appropriate reservesand spent back into the economy just over $403 million.

State and territory governments invest $40.6 million per year in their core funding.

Total income generated by the companies was more than $438 million in 2011. Each federal $1 attracts a further $2.8 dollars in either private sector support or ticket sales—an impressive result given that the companies operate in a not-for-profit environment where access and reach are championed alongside ticket sales and financial prudence.

Major performing arts companies are among the most efficiently run arts companies in the world. For example, a 2009 report by LEK Consulting, commissioned by the Australia Council, found that Opera Australia is the most efficient opera company in the world.

The companies combined private sector income unadjusted for CPI has increased by over
128 per cent in the last 10 years.

The major performing arts companies’ ticket sales represent approximately 60 per cent of all ticket sales in Australia in their particular art form categories. In 2011 the major performing arts companies performed a further 216 shows overseas, provided free concerts and presented school performances to over half a million Australian children.

Australian Government funding of the arts as a percentage of GDP lags well behind other comparable countries at 0.084 per cent of GDP. Canada’s percentage is almost twice as much, at 0.156 per cent and New Zealand’s over twice the per capita rate at 0.198 per cent.

The major performing arts companies are well managed and growing

In the decade from 2001 to 2011, major performing arts companies’ earned income grew 66 per cent—that is, a growth rate 22 per cent ahead of CPI.

While their activities and reach have grown substantially over the past 11 years to include new community development and events, schools programs, and regional and international touring, their overhead costs have remained on par with 2001 costs in real terms.

The main proportional increases in company expenditure have come from venue-related costs, over which performing arts companies have little control.


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