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As the Australian federal elections draw closer, the opposition party pledges major funding and support to live music in a move welcomed by industry organisations
By Anna Grace on 13 May 2019
The Australian Labor party (ALP) has announced plans to invest millions of dollars into the Australian music industry in the run up to the federal elections on Saturday 18 May.
The Labor party launched its new arts policy, ‘Renewing Creative Australia’, in Melbourne. The policy builds on the original ‘Creative Australia’ plan launched under the Gillard Labor Government in 2013.
“Arts policy is not an add-on for a Labor government,” says Labor leader Bill Shorten. “If we get elected we will put the story of our arts at the centre of what we do as a nation. The arts deserve attention and support.”
The opposition party has promised AU$20 million to the Australian Live Music Fund to support live music venues, events and musicians. Additionally, $10 million will go to national music export development initiative Sounds Australia and $2.1 million to the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) to provide mentoring for female musicians.
The policy also focuses on promoting First Nations’ art and culture, dedicating $2.7 million to a new grants programme for Indigenous musicians. A Shorten Labor government would also provide $3 million to assist existing state-based First Nations’ theatre companies and $8 million to establish a new Indigenous Theatre Company as a performing arts institution.
“If we get elected we will put the story of our arts at the centre of what we do as a nation”
As health issues and artist wellbeing becomes an increasingly pertinent issue within the music industry, the policy also promises $5 million over a period of five years to Support Act, delivering a music industry-focused mental health programme and $1 million over five years to music therapy provider Nordoff Robbins.
The opposition party has also proposed legislation to tackle secondary ticketing, setting a ticket resale price cap of 10% above face value, banning automated ticket-buying software or ticket bots and electing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to act as watchdogs.
Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA AMCOS) is among industry organisations to show support for the policy.
“The support for Australian contemporary music in this arts policy will provide vital investment for artists at all stages of their career,” says APRA AMCOS chief executive Dean Ormston.
“With targeted investment in music education, export, indigenous creators and live music venues, Australia now has the policy potential to place us front and centre of the global music ecosystem.”
The policy follows the launch of the current Liberal party government’s Australian Music Industry Package, which dedicated $30.9 million to live music.
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