The inquiry, which has now published 37 submissions made to it over the past two months, will hold hearings in major capital cities and regional centres over the coming months.
Executive Director, Bethwyn Serow, said, ‘Regional communities have a clear interest and recognition of the value of live performance and arts education, but their opportunities to participate and engage are significantly lower than their metropolitan counterparts.’
She said more needed to be done to ensure fair access to live performance in the regions, a position shared by many arts organisations including Live Performance Australia, Regional Arts Australia and the Australian Performing Arts Centres Association (APACA).
‘To go some way towards meeting the nation’s obligations to regional and rural Australians, we believe the Playing Australia fund should be upped by $2 million a year—and that increase should be accompanied by creating flexibility in eligibility guidelines,’ Ms Serow said.
‘We need to remove barriers to alternative ways of touring that may be more efficient for artists, arts companies and audience reach and engagement—and to broaden the activities the fund is capable of supporting.’
Four performing arts companies, including two majors (Bell Shakespeare and Sydney Dance Company, have previously been awarded National Touring Status which gives them multi-year certainty around their capacity to tour.
‘This in turn provides regional and remote venues and their communities greater certainty and capacity to forward book and plan’, Ms Serow said.
‘We believe National Touring Status should be extended to all major companies that regularly tour regional Australia.
‘This makes sense for regional areas because there is such a strong demand for mainstream performances.
‘In fact, in a survey by APACA, regard to productions, genres or artforms that presenters would like to program but were unable to, programming the major performing arts companies or large scaled productions were highest, followed by dance.’
However, touring mainstage performances to regional areas can be prohibitively costly, with lower box office returns and often venues that cannot accommodated works of scale.
‘It is these disconnects between demand and supply that a boost in government funding would go a long way to address,’ she said.
AMPAG has also called on the government to lift its support for regional education activities and stream, digital access for regional and remote areas.
‘This would not only lift people’s participation and engagement in arts activities in regional areas, it would ultimately benefit all educational and community outcomes.’
Attached is AMPAG’s submission.
To read other submissions, visit: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Communications/BroadcastingandProduction/Submissions