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Thursday, 16 May 1985
Page: 2118

(Question No. 213)

Senator Reynolds asked the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, upon notice, on 16 April 1985:

(1) Has the attention of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment been drawn to the Throsby and Withers Report 'What Price Culture', which cites a 90 per cent recognition and approval for the Government's role in arts funding.

(2) Is the Minister aware that more people are employed in the arts than in mining or agriculture.

(3) Is the Minister confident that the 1985-86 Budget will reflect public opinion towards arts funding as well as recognise the important employment-generating function of arts funding.

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes. This study indicates that a substantial majority of the people surveyed recognise and approve of the government's role in providing funds to the arts.

(2) I am aware that the Throsby and Withers study quotes the 1981 census, which indicates that the arts in Australia now employ as many persons as mining or agriculture. The study states that culture is a major industry in Australia.

(3) I am not in a position to comment on the contents of 1985-86 Budget. Naturally I welcome reports such as 'What Price Culture', which indicate a very high level of public support for increased funding for the arts and which demonstrate that the arts constitute a major source of employment.