City advocates for creative industries impacted by COVID-19

27 Oct 2020

City of Newcastle has reinforced its support for creative industries decimated by the impacts of COVID-19, collaborating with the Independent Creative Alliance Newcastle (ICAN) on key advocacy work. 

The City will prepare a submission, on behalf of local arts and cultural sector workers, to an Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into creative and cultural industries and institutions. The Inquiry will examine the social and economic benefits of the creative arts and how to recognise, measure and grow opportunities, as well as the impacts of COVID-19 and how to best ensure cohesive policy between all levels of government. 

With a thriving arts and cultural scene and more artists per capita than any other city in Australia, Newcastle’s makers, traders, creators, artists, designers and producers contribute to a billion-dollar industry in the Hunter Region alone – the significance of which is not lost on the City of Newcastle’s COVID-19 City Taskforce. 

The Taskforce, comprising of 17 leading organisations and employers including ICAN, recognises the importance of the city’s vibrant creative and cultural industries and believes more needs to be done to create new and ongoing opportunities in the Greater Newcastle area, and that addressing inconsistencies in State and Federal Government funding is critical to the sector’s recovery. 

Chair, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the City had worked closely with ICAN to develop The Newcastle Response – Arts Sector, which posed a number of policy asks to the State and Federal Governments. 

“Targeted support measures are needed to ensure the sustainability of creative industries, such as the establishment of a cultural infrastructure fund that Gateway Cities like Newcastle, Wollongong and Geelong can access, therefore reducing funding inequity, and government partnership on local arts and culture infrastructure projects like the Newcastle Art Gallery expansion,” the Lord Mayor said. 

“City of Newcastle’s Parliamentary Inquiry submission will note these recommendations formed in close consultation with ICAN, which has seen first-hand the devastating impacts to our arts and cultural community.” 

Councillor Carol Duncan said the diversity of creative talent in Newcastle was celebrated and revered. 

“The makers and creators contribute so heavily to the fabric of our city and improve social outcomes, the value of which will only grow as we chart a path to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cr Duncan said. 

ICAN Interim Chair Annette Hubber said now more than ever, creatives needed our support. 

“The city’s arts and recreation businesses, of which there are more per 10,000 people than anywhere else in NSW, breathe life into our city and unify the community through storytelling,” Ms Hubber said. 

“The impacts of COVID-19 restrictions have been devastating, which is why support from all levels of government is so vital to the industry’s recovery and beyond.”