Governments should ensure the arts and cultural sectors are included when considering how to attract more people to rural and regional areas, an inquiry has heard.
A parliamentary committee is looking at the economic and social benefits of Australia's creative and cultural industries and institutions, and ways to boost the sector.
Creative industries contribute over $110 billion to the Australian economy each year, the Regional Australia Institute said in its submission to the inquiry.
It is especially beneficial for regional areas, which have been struggling under the weight of the coronavirus-driven economic downturn and drought.
"It creates a lively and thriving environment that is distinctive, and which encourages people to move to an area, to remain living in an area, or to visit an area as a tourist and spend money," the organisation said.
"The creative industry also has a special role to play in enhancing community connectedness and social cohesion."
If governments want to attract more people to regional areas, there is evidence the "cultural vibrancy" of an area is a key factor when people weigh up a town's liveability.
"The RAI's research has found that in a regional labour market where many regions are struggling to attract and retain skilled trades and professional workers, it is often the assessment of cultural vibrancy that takes a worker to one place rather than another," it said.
"Arts and cultural events also attract visitors who otherwise may not have knowledge of a region or community and who may become new residents or may 'spread the word' about a community's unique attractions."
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the RAI said small regional towns reliant on festivals should be able to access "tailored, place-based support" to help them sustain their activities.
The arts could also play a role in fostering social cohesion, particularly for new migrants and refugees moving to regional areas.
There was also a case to be made for making better use of the sector to drive regional economic growth.
© AAP 2021