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The National Arts Participation Survey: State and Territory Results

The Australia Council for the Arts has today released the state and territory level results from the third National Arts Participation Survey.

The state and territory results expand on the June 28 release of national results in Connecting Australians: Results of the National Arts Participation Survey. This third edition in a landmark series by the Australia Council for the Arts provides a comprehensive picture of the essential role the arts play in daily life, and in building social cohesion which promotes a healthy and inclusive public life for all Australians.

The national results showed that 98% of Australians engage with the arts and that there is substantially increased recognition of their positive impact on our wellbeing and ability to develop new ideas. Other important findings include a major increase in engagement with First Nations arts, the central role of the arts in the lives of younger Australians, and the increased opportunities offered through online options to make, share and consume the arts.

Australia Council Chief Executive Tony Grybowski said he was delighted at the response to the national level findings and that the research was already being used across the country and internationally.

“I am pleased we are now able to share the expanded state and territory results to equip the arts sector with detailed data on arts engagement which is specific to their region, said Mr Grybowski.

“This research builds on decades of work by the Australia Council to demonstrate the essential value of the arts, and we are transforming the way we make data and analysis available. This report is available through the Council’s new ‘Arts Nation’ online platform which includes interactive dashboards, downloadable data sets and fact sheets for each state and territory. By increasing the availability and accessibility of arts related data we hope to strengthen the evidence base which informs policy, programs and investment in the arts.


Research Highlights:


Australian Capital Territory

  • ACT residents are avid theatre goers with 63% attending theatre in 2016 compared to 41% of other Australians.
  • They are also more likely than other Australians to feel that they have plenty of opportunities to get involved in the arts (65% compared to 50%).
  • ACT residents are keenly conscious of the role of the arts in the lives of children. They are more likely to agree that the arts impact child development (74%, compared to 64% of other Australians), and that the arts should be an important part of the education of every Australian (84%, compared to 75%).

 New South Wales

  • Arts festivals provide diverse and accessible arts experiences. While NSW residents attend arts festivals at a similar rate to other Australians (47%), they are much more likely to attend multi-art form festivals, such as Vivid (28% compared to 17% of other Australians).
  • NSW residents are increasing their attendance at First Nations arts – 37% in 2016, up from 22% in 2013. First Nations dance has particularly grown in popularity in NSW, doubling from 9% to 18% since the 2013 Survey, and attendance in 2016 is higher than the national level of 15%.
  • 2 in 3 NSW residents believe the arts have a significant impact on stimulating their minds and increasing their understanding of other people and cultures.

Northern Territory*

  • The NT shows strong overall trends which are similar to the national results, with increased recognition of the positive impacts of the arts and their contribution to social connection and cohesion.
  • Three quarters of Territorians attend the arts, with music the most popular art form, followed by dance. 57% attend First Nations arts and 40% engage with their own cultural background through the arts.


  • Queenslanders are increasingly recognising the contribution of the arts to personal expression and creativity. 70% believe the arts have a ‘big’ or ‘very big’ impact on their ability to express themselves (up from 61% in 2013); and 69% believe in their impact on the ability to think creatively and develop new ideas (up from 58%).
  • Queenslanders’ attendance at First Nations arts has increased – sitting at 34%, up from 20% in 2009 and 25% in 2013. Queenslanders are more likely to agree that First Nations arts are well represented in Australia (59% compared to 53% of other Australians).

South Australia

  • South Australians are increasingly recognising the benefits of the arts at a personal level. 73% believe the arts have a major impact on their ability to express themselves (up from 57% in 2013); and 64% on their sense of wellbeing and happiness (up from 49%).
  • In line with national figures, eight in ten South Australians read creative writing (81%). South Australians are more likely to read novels (72%) and poetry (24%), compared to other Australians (60% and 14% respectively).
  • One in three South Australians attend First Nations arts, increasing from 9% in the first survey in 2009, to 32% in 2016.


  • Two in three Tasmanians attend the arts (66%), four in ten engage with their cultural background through the arts (38%) and half creatively participate (52%).
  • In line with national trends, more than half of Tasmanians attend live music (52%). However, Tasmanians are more likely to listen to recorded music (99%) than other Australians.


  • Victorians are ardent arts-attenders. They are more likely to attend live music (57%), visual arts (49%) and theatre (45%) than other Australians (53%, 45% and 40% respectively).
  • Eight in ten Victorians agree that the arts make for a richer and more meaningful life (78%). Overall, Victorians are more likely to agree with positive attitude statements about the arts than other Australians.
  • The high value that Australians place on the arts is reflected in the time and money they give to support artists, organisations and arts projects. Around one in three Victorians give time or money to the arts (30%), a higher rate than other Australians (26%).

Western Australia

  • West Australians increasingly believe that the arts reflect Australia’s cultural diversity (74%, up from 66% in 2013) and that they shape and express Australian identity (56%, up from 47% in 2013).
  • Three in four West Australians believe the arts are an important way to get different perspectives on a topic or issue (74%), and contribute to their wellbeing and happiness (59%, up from 51% in 2013).
  • Around two in three Western Australians believe the arts impact their understanding of other people and cultures.

To access the full report, state and territory fact sheets and interactive dashboards visit the Australia Counci website.

The Australia Council for the Arts is the Australian Government’s principal arts funding and advisory body. The Australia Council is committed to making the vitality of our arts and culture more visible, and to recognising and supporting the evolving way that Australians make and experience art.



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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