Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 November 2015) . . Page.. 4184 ..
the Cultural Facilities Corporation—
Sitting alongside these strategic documents will be a number of operational plans which are to be developed by artsACT on issues such as: research and data; cultural infrastructure; communications; community arts and cultural development; and funding.
The artsACT strategic plan 2015-16 is particularly relevant to our discussion here this afternoon. It sets out the ways in which artsACT will judge the success or otherwise of the implementation of the arts policy framework. It commits artsACT to develop a research and data plan which will outline what data they would collect, how they would use the data and what they would report on. It commits artsACT to undertake an analysis of the sector to understand the economic and social impacts of the arts. That presumably refers to the economic overview that has already been released this year.
It commits artsACT to measures of success such as attendance and participation, the number of ACT performances held interstate or overseas, the number of artists funded by the Australia Council, the number of people visiting Canberra for the arts, the number of people employed in the arts sector in the ACT and the number of businesses in the ACT arts sector, amongst others. Presumably, these are the sorts of metrics that Mr Smyth is calling for when he says that we need to be able to more clearly measure and understand what is happening in the arts sector in the ACT, as his motion speaks to.
With respect to the implementation of the 2015 arts policy framework, we have started to see these numbers in the economic overview report. Given appropriate time, I am sure we will see further measures reported against in publications of artsACT.
If these metrics and reporting could be strengthened at all, I would be interested to know more about what people employed in the arts sector are paid and whether it is a living wage or is sufficient to attract and retain quality arts practitioners. The Childers Forum budget submission touched on this, stating:
The Government’s objective should be to ensure that there are no professional arts workers employed by ACT Key Arts Organisations earning less than the average Australian wage. An investment in the salaries of ACT arts workers is an investment in the efficient and productive operation of ACT arts assets. Salaries commensurate with skills and experience ensure the retention of qualified people with necessary expertise, and promote sound management and development of strong policies within the facilities built by the ACT Government.
The research and data plan should include benchmarking salaries of professional arts managers within the ACT against the Community Service sector and with arts personnel in other states and territories.
I think that is a very interesting point. It is a well-worn joke that the arts is an underpaid industry. I think the Childers Forum make a useful point in observing that people should not have to starve for their art and that a decent salary is an important part of ensuring a healthy and vibrant arts sector here in the ACT.