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Australian orgs welcome $34m live music pledge

Australian music organisations have welcomed a pledge by the Victorian government to invest A$34 million in the state’s live music sector.

Premier Daniel Andrews, who is seeking a third term, and minister for creative industries Steve Dimopoulos have also promised cash to support 10,000 concerts over the next four years and $1,000 grants for artists if Labor prevail in this weekend’s state election.

The commitment also includes  $2.5m for a Live Music Major Events Fund, providing grants of up to $50,000 for festivals across the state, plus $2.4m for music industry charity Support Act to assist Victorian artists, managers, crew and music workers who face challenges with their mental health.

“We greatly appreciate this election commitment from the Victorian government,” says Support Act CEO Clive Miller. “If realised, it will have an enormous impact for our programs in Victoria, and help us to help the industry build back better after the disruptions of the past few years.

“We know from our own research that people working in music have elevated levels of psychological distress, suicide ideation, anxiety and depression, and that our prevention, education and training programs have real impact, as they are designed and delivered by people who work in music and have lived experience.”

“It will go a long way to helping the music industry get back on its feet and share great music with Victorians”

Miller adds that Support Act’s remit had increased significantly over the past few years, and that he hopes other governments – and the Victorian opposition – are also factoring Support Act into their upcoming budget planning.

The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) has also backed the move.

“The Victorian music community was hit hard by extended lockdowns leading to live performance cancellations, and now face the challenges of reopening with rising costs, skills shortages and poor consumer confidence,” it says.

“This commitment addresses a range of aspects in the music ecosystem including live music, festivals, education and importantly the mental health toll on our community. It will go a long way to helping the music industry get back on its feet and share great music with Victorians.”


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Support Act launches new Wellbeing Helpline

Music industry charity, Support Act, has announced the launch of its Wellbeing Helpline. The free, 24-hour-a-day service is available for anybody in Australian music to use. On the other end of the phone will be professional counsellors giving help in all areas of mental illness, addiction and suicidal ideation, as well as issues related to mental health, such as workplace conflict, loneliness and financial worries.

The helpline is being funded with help from Alberts’ The Tony Foundation and Levi Strauss Australia. Support Act have previously worked with mental health issues in the roadie section of the industry, in their joint venture with ARCA.

There is a similar helpline for musicians based in New Zealand, which was found to have a suicide rate twice that of the normal population.

CEO of Support act, Clive Miller comments: “The launch of this service is in direct response to requests from our colleagues working in music to help improve overall mental health and wellbeing.

“Based on our consultations and research, we believe that a specialised service specifically tailored to the unique challenges faced by artists and music workers will be of enormous benefit to all people working in our industry.”

“We look forward to continuing to work with SUPPORT ACT on breaking down stigma and raising awareness around mental health.”

“We are thrilled to see this idea brought to fruition in less than 12 months under the dynamic leadership of Jo Cave and the team at Support Act,” says Emily Albert, executive officer at the Tony Foundation. “We have gone from initial conversations at the Bigsound mental health summit last September around how to best support wellbeing in the music industry, to the helpline being made available this week. 

“Alberts is delighted to have been able to contribute to enabling this vision to become a reality and to making this much needed service available to people working across the music industry in Australia.”

Nicky Rowsell, marketing manager of Levi Strauss Australia & New Zealand, adds: “Levi’s is proud to be a part of such an important initiative that will see our local musicians and music industry workers receive Australia’s first mental health and well-being help line. 

“This is a critical first step in a longer journey that Levi’s is heavily invested in: to really give back to the music (and wider) creative community in a meaningful way that we hope will make a real difference. 

“We look forward to continuing to work with Support Act on breaking down stigma and raising awareness around mental health. If this work can help to save lives – then I think we all need to make it a priority to protect the future of the music industry itself.”

To access the helpline, please call 1800 959 500 within Australia, or click here to go to the Support Act homepage.


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