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News August 11, 2023

Centre for Creative Workplaces Appoints Kate Jenkins as Chair, Creative Australia Makes ‘Encouraging’ Progress

Senior Journalist, B2B
Centre for Creative Workplaces Appoints Kate Jenkins as Chair, Creative Australia Makes ‘Encouraging’ Progress

The Albanese government’s Creative Australia vision continues to take form, with the inaugural team named for the Centre for Creative Workplaces Council.

Announced today (Aug. 11), Kate Jenkins AO, former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, takes the lead as chairperson for the Creative Workplaces Council.

The inaugural council is stacked with creatives and includes Tina Lavranos (executive director at DarkLab), Michel Hryce (director of people and culture at Michael Cassel Group), Tony Ayres (writer, director and producer), Ruth Hazleton (singer, musician and songwriter), Fiona Donovan (production designer) and Bjorn Stewart (actor, writer and director, a Kuku Yalanji/Wemba Wemba man).

All appointments are effective from Thursday, Aug. 24.

Jenkins’ “recent work as commissioner improved law, policies, practices, and funding to foster greater gender equality and address sexual harassment,” explains ARIA and PPCA CEO Annabelle Herd.

Her appointment “ensures the important work started by the Music Industry Review will continue with the expertise and dedication it deserves,” Herd continues.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins

Kate Jenkins

Jenkins and the Creative Workplaces Council will be expected to meet at least four times each year, and will work towards to goal of promoting fair, safe, and respectful workplaces for Australian artists and arts workers.

The leaders of APRA AMCOS, Live Performance Australia and music industry charity Support Act also welcomed the development.

“We look forward to working with Creative Workplaces Council on future initiatives to further raise standards and build industry capability and best practice in providing safe and respectful workplaces for those working in our live arts and entertainment industry,” says LPA’s CEO Evelyn Richardson.

“Everyone has the right to work in an environment free from bullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault, discrimination and exclusion,” comments Dean Ormston, CEO of APRA AMCOS.

“The establishment of Creative Workplaces and the appointment of this Council by Minister for the Arts Tony Burke MP is a critical next step to help work with industry to create the safe workplaces artists and industry workers deserve.”

The music business last year united to commission Raising Their Voices, which investigated sexual harm, sexual harassment and systemic discrimination across the industry.

That document, notes Ormston, “was a watershed moment and provided a blueprint on how we can take action to make the industry safer, more inclusive, more respectful, and ultimately stronger.”

Tony Burke

The Creative Workplaces Council is an initiative within the National Cultural Policy, Revive, the reimagined, modernised Australia Council of the Arts, presented by the federal government in January of this year and legislated in June as a new function within Creative Australia.

The Creative Workplaces Council has a remit to inform and support the operation of Creative Workplaces, and will report to, and work closely with, the governing board for Creative Australia, which will continue to be known as the Australia Council board.

Herd points to the “encouraging” progress made since the passing of the Creative Australia Act 2023 in June, but admits “the best announcements and intentions are nothing without robust execution. We cannot afford to get this wrong.”

The industry body anticipates an announcement on the Council for Music Australia “in the near future” and, reckons Herd, looks forward “to working closely with both Councils to tackle the huge challenge faced by local music and to secure our talented artists the global fame they deserve.”

There’s more work to be done. “We can absolutely achieve this with the right investment and strategic support,” Herd adds, “but we need to be ambitious and execute well.”

Read more here.


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