Beyond the Bush: Sustainable, creative, regional communities and the case for a national creative industries hub in regional Australia

Anthony Cahalan, Margaret Woodward

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


If Australia hopes to secure a vibrant economic future in metropolitan, rural and remote regions, creative industries are needed to enrich and sustain Australia's unique communities across the whole country.In this paper, the authors argue that the development of a new national Cultural Policy for 2020 represents an important opportunity to better account of the needs of regional, remote and Indigenous communities and their untapped potential to contribute to our national culture and economy. Indeed, it is critical that Australia's unique rural and regional contexts are integrated into the cultural policy to ensure the success of its three key elements: keeping cultures strong; engaging with communities; and empowering the young.This paper will be illustrated with a case-study of a leading Australian designer whose practice-led research in a regional centre demonstrates the potential for sustainable, creative communities to provide employment opportunities, social cohesion, educational participation and cultural richness.The creative industries are vital to the social and economic development of Australia. The creative workforce has been estimated to comprise 437,000 people (equivalent to 5.4% of the Australian workforce) with the value of salaries and wages almost $21 billion. With an average annual growth rate of 5%, the creative workforce has grown at a considerably faster rate than the total workforce. Development of the creative industries therefore has the potential to stimulate economic development while simultaneously contributing to Strengthening Australian Communities, a key national priority for rural and regional Australia. Creative industries are not focused on urban centres alone; in fact, the digital environments on which the creative industries rely means the physical location of the creative workforce is becoming increasingly less relevant. There is a growing body of research which shows that thriving creative industries are crucial for the health and vitality of a region and its communities.While the creative industries have received significant support in metropolitan centres, this paper proposes the establishment of a national hub for the creative industries for rural and regional Australia designed to strengthen regional and Indigenous communities, create improved links between metropolitan and rural industries, lead research and provide new pathways to higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConfronting the challenges of the post crisis global economy and environment
EditorsGuy Robinson
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherRoyal Geographical Society
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventRoyal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) Annual Conference - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 01 Sept 201003 Sept 2010


ConferenceRoyal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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