Greens Woo Music Biz with Salary Promise, Insurance Guarantee

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Pictured: Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

The music industry could have a greater sense of certainty if the Australian Greens hold 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 series of Creative Australia policies.

It will support the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s (MEAA) call for a minimum $250 royalty for musicians, comedians, buskers and other performers when performing at publicly funded events.

“There will be more support for artists when concerts are canceled,” Bandt said.

The party will establish a new billion-dollar live performance fund to inject money into the festival and event sectors. A live performance insurance guarantee will also be issued.

“(This) will help artists and performers impacted by COVID-related cancellations…for too long, performers are expected to be at tremendous financial risk,” Bandt added.

A multidisciplinary commission on creativity will be set up with an annual fund of 10 million dollars.

He will also lobby for additional grants for COVID recovery through the RISE fund.

“Over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Greens have advocated for better support for our arts and performing arts sector,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“The area was literally destroyed overnight and suffered longest and hardest, yet repeated calls to the Morrison government for adequate aid to survive and rebuild have been ignored.

“The Morrison government has treated the arts sector and creative workers with contempt, like a bunch of weak philistines who reject the public good of the arts but love to sing the tunes of their favorite artists.”

MEAA’s $250 minimum campaign was run through its MEAA Musicians division, which represents independent musicians.

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

“If you pour beers in a pub or serve tables, you will be paid minimum wage by law. But if you stand in the corner of the pub, holding a guitar and singing, you can play for peanuts.

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

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

“But it hasn’t become law yet because the Perottet government hasn’t followed through,” said Musicians Australia and MEAA Musicians director Paul Davies.

In 2016, the Greens cite a union study that found 20% of performers live below the poverty line and unveil a living wage plan for artists that would cover food, rent and even heating.

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