A five-year study of Australia’s innovation and creative industries has shed light on the impact of their backseat economic role during the resources boom.

The result of the federally-funded study by the UTS-based Creative Industries Innovation Centre (CIIC) is Creative Business in Australia, a 133-page book that is free to download from UTS ePress.

The study’s authors urge governments to make up for lost time and invest in the growth opportunities that innovative sectors present.

UTS Provost Professor Peter Booth said the sectors employ “more than 611,000 people contributing revenue of $90.19 billion to Australia's economy, but languished during the resources boom, allowing rival nations to forge ahead.”

But Booth indicated time was running out for governments that paid lip service to innovation, without adequately investing in it.

“State and federal politicians cannot use terms like 'the smart state', the 'clever country' or 'the innovation nation' if necessary government support isn't forthcoming; nor the right kinds of education and business incentives for emerging entrepreneurs," Booth said.

"Government can and must provide creative SMEs with resources and support to help them scale up.

“The best model for success is for industry, government and higher education to work together to create a world-class strategy.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Deloitte Private’s David Schloeffel, who contributed a chapter to the e-book.

Schloeffel noted that since CIIC’s closure, the ABS and government had released separate reports showing the decline in employment prospects in traditional industries, and the growth in creative and innovation sectors.

He encouraged governments, peak bodies and businesses to work together to resolve challenges to the growth of these industries, particularly if they were to be relied on for future economic growth.

“As any architect will tell you, a building is only as good as its foundations. And while foundations may not be an architect’s passion, they make possible what is,” he wrote.

“As has been experienced by the CIIC for six years, [creative business] foundations are often shaky and sometimes not even there.

“As in other comparable economies, there is a role for government to help develop the creative industries.

“In those economies, such help is understood as an investment in the future.”

Remembering the CIIC

The e-book is intended to be a legacy of the CIIC, which was defunded and forced to close last year.

“During the six years of the CIIC, one of its mantras was that the centre needed to help creative companies - often consumed by the day-to-day running of a business - to ‘look up’ and see beyond their own practices in order to improve their business,” the study’s authors wrote in a foreword to the book.

“We hope this book, as a legacy of the Centre, provides … a ‘look again’ chance for local policy makers and industry leaders to better understand a sector critical for future employment, innovation and economic growth in Australia.”