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5271.0 - Australian National Accounts: Cultural and Creative Activity Satellite Accounts, Experimental, 2008-09  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/02/2014  First Issue
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10 February 2014
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Culture is big business

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released its first experimental measures of the economic contribution of cultural and creative activity in Australia.

Cultural and creative activity is estimated to have contributed $86.0 billion (6.9%) to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product in 2008-09.

“This new ABS release shows cultural and creative activity is a significant component of the Australian economy, in addition to playing an important role in the wellbeing and quality of life of the community” said ABS Director of Culture, Recreation and Migrant Statistics, Andrew Middleton.

Volunteer services to arts and heritage organisations are estimated to have been worth a further $756 million in 2008-09.

The number of persons whose main employment was in a cultural or creative industry or occupation averaged 972,200 in 2008-09.

There were 164,730 entities actively trading as a business or non-profit institution within the cultural and creative industries at the end of June 2009.

The ABS’ estimates were prepared following strong interest in the economic role of these activities, such as highlighted by Australia’s National Cultural Policy Creative Australia.

Estimates for cultural and creative activities have previously been published in other countries such as Canada, Finland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Further information can be found in Australian National Accounts: Cultural and Creative Activity Satellite Accounts (cat. no. 5271.0), available for free download from the ABS website (

Media notes:
  • ‘Cultural’ and ‘creative’ describe activities connected with the arts, media, heritage, design, fashion and information technology.
  • The satellite accounts were derived using a range of detailed data which become available at a later date than the ABS' regular headline statistics.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) as the source.

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