Australia is confronted by the possibility of a slump in the resources industry, winding back of its automobile industry and a construction gap in defence manufacturing – all of which will lead to severe under-employment of highly skilled workers.
One way to counter this is to put Australia’s creative industries to work unlocking new potential from these traditional industries, reshaping and refocusing the skills already present in their workforces.
South Australia, with a long history of innovation and well recognised as a centre of smart manufacturing – especially in the defence and electronics sectors, already has the core of a Creative Industries Domain that could lead this transformational process.
The Eastern Region Alliance (ERA) has the highest concentration in South Australia of creative industries, including film and television, multimedia, publishing and print media, marketing, advertising and PR, industrial, fashion and furniture design, architecture and software developers.
ERA includes the Kent Town Project, the Glenside Film and Television Cluster, the Creative Industries Centre at TAFE SA-Tea Tree Gully and a proposed arts Domain centred on the Magill campus of the University of South Australia – bringing together at least 35 per cent of Adelaide’s arts and design activity. In addition, a cluster of education centres including colleges, schools, universities, specialised trade training centres (Charles Campbell) will combine with a potential creative industry research hub at Magill (UNISA).
This provides a unique concentration of capability as the core of a Creative Industries Domain, a resource that will be transformative in its impact on mainstream, traditional industry across South Australia, and create a regional model for transition into the new economy.
This will be demonstrated by developing new products and services in high value industries; participation in new research and development projects; breaking into new national and international markets; while creating highly skilled, high wage and knowledge intensive jobs of the future.
It would be a natural development of ERA’s Creative Industries Domain to act as a regional hub linked to the proposed national Creative Industries Centre, expected to be located in the eastern states.
Commonwealth assistance is required to undertake an economic study of the contribution the creative industries make to the ERA and to ascertain their competitive advantages.
Drawing on the results of such a study, an audit must then be undertaken of the region’s creative industry capacity and capability, which will enable a roadmap to be developed for activating new business and collaboration opportunities.