Museums add value

Article image - Museums add value (From left) Mayor of Bathurst Gary Rush, General Manager Museums & Galleries NSW Michael Huxley, Minister for Local Government Paul Toole, Mayor of Wagga Wagga Rod Kendall and Chair of Museums & Galleries NSW Oliver Frankel A new study has been released which demonstrates the economic impact of Local Government supported cultural facilities in New South Wales.

The study focused on 26 facilities in the seven New South Wales Evocities: Albury, Armidale, Bathurst Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga.

Combined, the museums and galleries contributed more than $60 million to the local economy in the 2012/13 financial year.

In total the 26 facilities employed 158 full time staff.

Minister for Local Government Paul Toole said the almost 25,000 hours of volunteered labour by local art enthusiasts valued at over half a million dollars also indicated the willingness of communities to engage and connect with the cultural facilities.

“This research confirms the great value provided by Local government through the provision of museums, galleries and performing arts centres.

“Not only do they help mould and shape community identity by supporting local arts workers, and providing access for regional audiences, they also contribute positively to the local and regional economies and provide a positive return on investment for both State and Local government.”

The report has also been welcomed by the Evocities themselves, including Councilllor Gary Rush, Mayor of Bathurst.

“The release of this recent report adds value to the cultural assets we have here in regional NSW and importantly highlights the great economic benefit that museums, galleries and other cultural attractions can bring to regional cities and why it is so important that we work together to continue to gain support from the State Government and private industry to ensure we do not miss opportunities in the future to see further investment in regional cultural development.”

Dubbo’s Mayor, Councilor Mathew Dickerson, echoed these thoughts.

“Cultural institutions are an integral part of our City, providing a number of benefits for both the Dubbo community and our visitors, while also providing a valuable contribution to our local economy.

“The Old Dubbo Gaol, Western Plains Cultural Centre and Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre are fantastic examples of facilities that promote community cohesion and a sense of identity and place while providing historical education and unique event venues for our community.

“These cultural institutions also help contribute to Dubbo’s strong visitor economy.”

The Evocities project is designed to encourage capital city residents to move to one of the smaller regional centres.