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News September 8, 2022

Dean Ormston Calls For United Industry In Light of ‘Confronting’ Review

Senior Journalist, B2B
Dean Ormston Calls For United Industry In Light of ‘Confronting’ Review

Together, the music industry is stronger. And a stronger industry must be a responsible one.

Those are some of the takeaways from APRA AMCOS chief executive Dean Ormston on Wednesday (Sept. 7), as the organisation gathered VIPs for its traditional Bigsound breakfast.

The PRO’s chief executive didn’t shy away from tackling the big news of this month, the publication last week of Raising Their Voices, a substantial document into sexual harm, harassment, and systemic discrimination across the contemporary music industry.

The review recorded high rates of bullying, sexism and harassment within the music industry’s workplace, based on 1,300 submissions and separate interviews, with the vast majority of those incidents going unreported.

The report is a blueprint for action and contains 17 recommendations for change, one of which was immediately met by way of an apology, a collective message from the industry that acknowledges the harm caused.

“As an industry, as APRA AMCOS, and as this organisation’s CEO,” Ormston told guests Wednesday morning at the Iris in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.

“It’s critical that we acknowledge the harm that has occurred – noting that some of that goes beyond what is documented in the report – and that we say sorry.”

The “Joint Industry Statement of Acknowledgement,” the apology, “was a positive first step,” he continued.

Ormston urged guests to take the time to digest the review, though warning its contents were “confronting” and “distressing.”

“Harm has been experienced by individuals and, as is evident from the stories shared, by entire groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people of colour, LGBTQI people and young people,” he continued.

“I’m conscious of our position in driving change – our industry is going to need to work collectively and collaboratively.”

The review, authored by consultants Alexandra (Alex) Shehadie and Sam Turner, was shaped by a gathering 18 months ago in Sydney, with the agenda to discuss industry-wide response to allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination.

“It was clear in that meeting that it was past time,” Ormston recounts. “Things needed to change and action required at an industry level,”
APRA AMCOS has travelled its own path to accountability and improving conditions for its staff and clients. In 2021, under the Equity Action Plan, a full review of APRA AMCOS policies was undertaken relation to sexual discrimination, harm, bullying, victimisation and exclusion.

And from it, a Statement of Expectation that has been signed by the PRO’s boards and ambassadors. “It’s about making clear, expectations and accountability.”

The industry joined forces once more this week, with a message to federal government for the creation of new national music development agency to oversee strategic investment and policy development.

“We’re calling for a national music development agency – a Music Australia – think Screen Australia and you’re on the right track – an opportunity to invest at a national level,” Ormston explained.

In the streaming age, Australia has “a global opportunity – and we should absolutely set our sights on becoming a global music powerhouse – a net exporter of music,” he continued.

A body to focus strategy, policy and investment would facilitate that.

The collective’s request for a federal music development agency is a part of a submission to the Australian Government’s National Cultural Policy consultation.

APRA AMCOS submitted “a vision, and strategies that focus on creating sustainable careers for all in the contemporary music industry,” explains Ormston.
Music’s “breadth, relevance and opportunity for the nation is extraordinary,” and encompasses Indigenous Australians. education. hospitality. tourism and night time economy, export, small business and more.
In addition to calling for a Music Australia, the Association’s joint industry submission calls for “urgent action” to improve the visibility and prominence of local music content across all media — both broadcast and digital. And for a national catalyst to rebuild and reinvigorate Australia’s live music venues and local touring, in the form of tax offsets.
A detailed Oxford Economics report will be released within the next two weeks, Ormston said.
Guests at APRA AMCOS’ breakfast gathering included Mushroom Music’s Linda Bosidis, Good Neighbour’s Susan Cotchin and The Annex’s Mardi Caught


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