Research conducted by RDA Peel indicated that from an economic and social development perspective the arts and culture sector in the Peel appears particularly active and vibrant, providing high levels of social participation. What is not well documented is the economic contribution the sector make to the region in terms of employment and gross regional product. From a regional economic perspective there are strong growth opportunities for the sector related to increasing the number of visitors from the substantial adjacent Perth market and increasing the average length of visitor stay (currently 3.4 nights). This would, prima facie, appear to be a relatively simple task – coordinating the scheduling of arts based events and activities to add value to existing events in the Peel region and creating new events. However a number of barriers will have to be overcome to achieve this. These include:
- Improvements in internal and external communication between sector members;
- Greater cooperation and collaboration across different sector activities and areas of interest;
- Breaking down of the silo mentality apparent in some areas of the sector and key organisations;
- Greater recognition of the social and economic contribution of the sector by Local and State Governments;
- Increased investment into the sector by Local, State and Australian Governments;
- Increased recognition of their responsibilities under the National Arts and Culture Accord by Local Governments.
The other revenue growth opportunities for the sector arise from the Peel, and particularly Mandurah and Pinjarra, being early stage rollout sites for high speed broadband. These opportunities have been identified in the eMandurah and Peel Region Digital Futures Strategies. A Peel Regional Arts and Culture Strategy (PRACS) is being developed to:
- Provide a pathway to a more sustainable and productive Arts and Culture sector in the Peel region;
- Enable the arts and culture sector to contribute to the economy through employment, professional development and creating career opportunities for artists;
- Provide increased access to contemporary innovative cultural practice for artists and the community;
- Support the Peel region in becoming a destination known for its creativity, innovation and a vibrant, contemporary culture;
- Support implementation of the WA Department of Culture and the Arts’ Regional Arts and Cultural Action Plan (RACAP);
- Provide a framework to guide and influence government and community investment in arts and culture;
Development of this strategy is one outcome from a series of workshops, forums and extensive consultation with members of the arts and culture sector, government representatives, arts workers and key sector stakeholders in the Peel region. This strategy’s four key objectives are directly aligned with the Regional Arts and Culture Action Plan’s four key objectives, which are in turn based on the four outcome areas of Creating Value – An Arts and Cultural Sector Policy Framework. The intent of this strategy is to work towards achieving the objectives of the Regional Arts and Culture Action Plan at a regional level by means that take account of the Peel’s unique characteristics.