Support Act Celebrates 25 Years In Service, Preps First Nations Strategic Plan
As it celebrates its quarter century helping those who need it most, Support Act is looking ahead to expanded programs and services, and the launch of its First Nations Strategic Plan.
The music industry charity’s First Nations initiative is designed in consultation with Elders and Indigenous leaders across the country and led by the organisation’s First Nations Community Engagement and Social Worker, Cerisa Benjamin.
Also this month, Support Act will push on with plans to extend crisis relief services; launch its Minimum Standards for a Mentally Healthy Music Industry; undertake regular research and mental health promotion, and more.
Today, Aug. 8, marks 25 years since Support Act materialised, an act that provides essential crisis relief, mental health and wellbeing support for thousands across a range of services, including the charity’s “Wellbeing Helpline” and funeral support.
“It’s a major achievement for any organisation to reach 25 years old, so we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate this milestone and to acknowledge all of the directors, staff, donors, sponsors and other supporters who have helped to make Support Act what it is today,” comments Clive Miller, CEO of Support Act.
“As the past couple of years have shown us, there has never been a greater need for our services, and we can all be proud of the way that the organisation has transformed itself from a relatively small charity to one that is providing a dynamic range of life-saving support services and programs for tens of thousands of music workers in need, helping to shape a more mentally healthy industry for the future.”
Those past couple of years have been devasting for so many music professionals, particularly those working on tours and events, the vast majority of which were shut-down during the most challenging two years of the pandemic.
Since the start of the health crisis through to January 2022, Support Act announced it had allocated more than 15,000 Crisis Relief Grants to music and live performing arts workers valued at more than $35 million, with a “large part” of those funds coming from the Australian Government.
The founding committee comprised John Anderson, Jeremy Fabyini, Nick Hampton, Peter Hebbes, Peter Karpin, Glenn Shorrock, Simon Fenner, Emmanuel Candi, Dobe Newton, Alex Coroneos, John Bromell, Michael Chugg, Brett Cottle, Meryl Gross, Jim White and Michael McMartin, which assembled with the ambition that Support Act could provide human and financial services that would positively impact the health and welfare of people working in the music industry.
“It was quite groundbreaking because no-one had worker’s compensation, no-one had superannuation, and very few people could afford to have medical benefits,” comments Chugg. “So when it was suggested that we start this, I was totally committed.”
Chugg personally knows many people “who have really been helped and it’s even helped our family as well. I think there’s always going to be a need for Support Act and I can’t ever see our industry without it.”
The seed of Support Act was planted many years before. “The establishment of Support Act was a story that was 17 years in the making. It started in 1980 as an idea, as a concept with Stevie Wright, singer of the Easybeats, and publisher John Bromell,” comments music publisher Jane English.
Bromell remarked to English at the time, “The music industry doesn’t look after people like Stevie Wright. He has no money, he has no super. And yet he’s taken Australian music to England and to Europe and has made a huge stamp on the world for Australian music. And the music industry should look after the Stevie Wrights of our world.”
Over the following years, Bromell got the music industry on board. And with financial support from founding members ARIA PPCA and APRA AMCOS, the organisation was incorporated as a public company limited by guarantee on Aug. 7, 1997, and formally launched the following day.
Support Act was granted charity status in 2000.