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News May 4, 2022

Greens Woo Music Biz With Wages Promise, Insurance Guarantee

Senior Journalist, B2B
Greens Woo Music Biz With Wages Promise, Insurance Guarantee
Pictured: Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

The Greens believe the music industry could have a greater sense of certainty if the party holds the balance of power after the upcoming federal election.

On Tuesday, party leader Adam Bandt and arts spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young appeared at the Comedy Republic in Melbourne to unveil a raft of Creative Australia policies.

It will back the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA)’s call for a $250 minimum fee for musicians, comedians, buskers and other performers when they play publicly-funded events.

“There’ll be more support for artists when gigs are cancelled,” Bandt said.

The party will establish a new $1 billion Live Performance Fund to inject money into the festival and events sectors. A Live Performance Insurance Guarantee will also be delivered.

“(It) will help artists and performers hit with COVID-related cancellations … for too long performers have been expected to wear massive financial risks,” Bandt added.

A multi-disciplinary Creativity Commission will be set up with an annual $10 million fund.

It will also push for additional grant funding for COVID recovery through the RISE Fund.

“For the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greens have been advocating for better support for our arts and live performance sector,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“The sector was smashed literally overnight and suffered the longest and hardest, yet repeated pleas to the Morrison government for adequate help to survive and rebuild have been ignored.

“The Morrison government has treated the arts sector and creative workers with contempt, like a bunch of dim philistines who dismiss the public good of the arts but love belting out tunes from their favourite artists.”

The MEAA’s minimum $250 campaign has been run through its MEAA Musicians division, which represents freelance musicians.

“Even before the pandemic, too often gigs were unpaid,” Kimberley Wheeler, president of its Victorian branch, said.

“If you pour beers at a pub or wait tables you’ll get a minimum wage by law. But if you’re standing in the corner of the pub, holding a guitar and singing, you can be playing for peanuts.”

The $250 campaign has been endorsed by state governments in VIC, QLD, WA and SA.

Last November, after a motion by shadow arts minister John Graham, the NSW upper house adopted a minimum fee.

“But it is yet to become law because the Perottet government has failed to follow through,” director of Musicians Australia and MEAA Musicians, Paul Davies, said.

In 2016, the Greens cited union research that 20% of performers live below the poverty line and unveiled a plan for a living wage for artists which would cover food, rent and even heating.

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