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Australia’s $90 billion creative industries have been identified as a key growth sector

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Anna Rooke

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA), Australia’s only organisation dedicated to driving the creative-tech ecosystem, recently called for recognition of the economic growth potential of the creative industries, including the appointment of a Federal Minister for the Creative Industries.

In Australia, creative industries currently contribute $90 billion annually to the economy – with CEA arguing that Federal Government support could drive that contribution much higher as it has in the UK and other international economies.

Speaking at CEA’s annual creative industries summit, Creative3, CEO of CEA, Anna Rooke, said the powerful success of homegrown creative-tech brands such as Canva, Envato, Shoes of Prey, Redbubble and Fame & Partners demonstrates the sector’s growth potential.

“Australian creative start-ups and entrepreneurs are already holding their own in the innovation space, but our potential could skyrocket with more focused government recognition and strategy – including a shift in the way Arts is implemented into our education system,” said Ms Rooke.

“The UK has already adopted this approach with a dedicated Minister of Digital and Culture – it’s of little coincidence that their creative industries are now generating almost £10 million per hour, with one in 12 jobs situated in the creative economy,” she highlighted.

How are Australia’s creative industries performing?

In 2011, there were 531,000 people working in the creative industries in Australia and over 120,000 creative businesses. The creative enterprise industry employs more than mining, agriculture and tourism and is growing at a higher rate than the general workforce. By recognising creative enterprise as a major driver of Australia’s future economy, this would boost support services and investor confidence in the industry.

Australia already has a Minister for the Department of Communications and the Arts, but CEA argues that the focus needs to be shifted towards more commercially orientated ventures than not-for-profit alone to avoid a silo approach of creative industries falling between Innovation and Arts portfolios.

“Australian grown graphic design platform, Canva, has just doubled its valuation in less than a year to an incredible $458 million,” continued Ms Rooke. “If more creative-tech ventures were recognized as a driver of the Australian economy, we could catapult our $90 billion industry into one of the internationally recognised global leaders.

“To assist this, the razor sharp focus on STEM needs to be broadened to help students develop at the intersect of creativity, innovation and technology. Adding the Arts into the mix will allow Australia to STEAM ahead in this space,” Ms Rooke added.

Globally, the creative industries is worth US$2.25 trillion, with creative-tech powerhouse, Disney, pinned as the world’s most powerful brand in 2016. In Australia, the creative industries occupy 6.2 per cent of total Australian employment, outweighing the employment rates of the mining industry and is the fastest growing and second largest industry sector in Sydney.

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