Labor’s resounding victory in the New South Wales election is music to the ears of the domestic music industry, which is heralding a “new era” for a sector damaged by years of “neglect”.
Incoming state premier Chris Minns and minister for music and night time economy John Graham had run on a Fresh Start campaign which featured the music industry high on its agenda.
In the weeks leading up to the March 25 election, the opposition Labor Party had laid-out its funding pledge to the tune of $103 million, and a multi-year plan to rebuild the music business, one that had been punished by mother nature, licensing regulations and then a pandemic, during which government was either late to assist, or entirely absent.
With Minns and his party expected to form majority government after its comprehensive victory, which sees the Liberal-Nationals ousted after 12 years in office, the music industry is keen to get to work.
“The $103 million music policy they took to the election was historic,” says Dean Ormston, CEO of APRA AMCOS.
“This level of investment will put NSW on par with some of the great music jurisdictions of the world; Quebec Canada, Liverpool England and Seoul South Korea.”
Leaders from across the industry applaud the government’s music-friendly policies, which include the establishment of Sound NSW, a state music development agency; the implementation of the music industry’s Raising Their Voices report; and the promise to use local music for government advertising, on-hold music and government buildings.
Labor’s funding pledge “will see a much needed injection into the live music sector which has suffered over-regulation for many years,” says Ormston.
“It will also help supercharge songwriting, recording, export and music industry development and make the state an international leader in music creation and presentation.”
The incoming NSW Government has made the “largest single commitment to music in Australian history, at a state or federal level,” in its $103 million decision to back the industry’s Vote Music plan, notes ARIA and PPCA CEO Annabelle Herd.
This, in addition to its pledge to support hundreds of live gigs across the state through the continued backing of Great Southern Nights until 2026; plus $4 million over four years to ensure industry compliance with codes of conduct to support the drive for cultural change in music in response to Raising Their Voices; and $2 million over four years delivered to Support Act, “gives music in NSW an incredible starting point to recover and realise new heights of global recognition.”
Support Act’s CEO Clive Miller welcomes the new administration. “We look forward to partnering with you to help implement the many constructive policy changes highlighted throughout the campaign,” he states, “that will ensure that people who work in music feel safe, supported and able to achieve their creative and economic potential.”
The new government has a “valuable opportunity to accelerate the recovery and rebuilding of our live arts and entertainment industry through the development of a new cultural strategy for NSW,” notes Evelyn Richardson, CEO of Live Performance Australia.
“This should include a more integrated approach across government to investment in our artists and performers, companies and infrastructure for the benefit of all of our audiences.”
“Now with NSW Labor’s music policy, as well as the Australian Government’s commitment to establish and invest in a national music development agency, Music Australia, the music industry can look at coordinating serious state and federal approach to the sector’s development across the nation and work to achieve our ambition to become a net exporter of music.”
Labor had issued a final word of support in the hours leading up to the election, having ticked all the boxes presented by Vote Music, a non-partisan coalition of music industry organisations and leaders.
Last month, Vote Music issued its comprehensive plan for music development and asked for $100 million commitment from all parties and candidates.
Labor came through.
Liberal and National coalition, however, issued just a one note in support of the music industry — a concerts initiative with a value in the single-digit millions.
MusicNSW managing director Emily Collins was campaign lead on Vote Music.
“This landmark investment will be a total game-changer for NSW,” she comments in a statement to The Music Network.
“Not only do we have a commitment of significant investment from the incoming Labor Government, we also have our local music community and industry absolutely fired up and ready to kick some goals for NSW. We’re coordinated, we’re speaking as one, and we’re committed to working with Government to make sure this investment benefits all parts of the ecosystem.”
Labor will hold at least 47 seats in the 93 member lower house, marking just the third time since World War II that the party has swept to power from opposition in NSW.
“NSW is the natural home for the Australian contemporary music industry, injecting $3.6 billion in economic, social and cultural value to the state,” reads a statement from Vote Music.
“We are grateful for NSW Labor’s recognition that investment in music is good for the economy and people, and look forward to getting started on reestablishing our state as Australia’s natural home of contemporary music.”
As votes were being counted at midday Monday, Labor had moved to 45 seats, with Liberal-Nationals at 26.
With victory in NSW, Labor now governs at state and federal level across Australia’s mainland.
Click here for the ABC’s election coverage.
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