'Ignored for too long': New arts bodies to be set up

·2-min read
Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS

Australian artists should enjoy safer workplaces and musicians better support after the creation of two new bodies under laws introduced to federal parliament.

The changes will lead to the creation of Music Australia, which will aim to grow the contemporary music sector within the country.

A body aiming to raise the standard of workplace conditions for artists across multiple sectors, known as Creative Workplaces, will also be set up.

Both bodies will form part of federal arts investment agency Creative Australia, a re-named Australia Council that has been overhauled as part of a multimillion-dollar arts policy.

Arts Minister Tony Burke said the new bodies would allow for greater self-expression by artists across many forms.

"In Australia, we haven't always valued the connection between the artist and their audience enough," he told parliament on Thursday.

"But as we all experienced during the lockdown periods of the pandemic, we know how much we miss it when it's not there.

"Australia's cultural output will grow because of this targeted investments in the arts and the establishment of these councils which will guide the strategic delivery of funding to the sector."

Music Australia will be backed by $69 million over the next four years following calls from the industry for greater investment.

Programs backed by the body will include song-writing and recording initiatives in schools, and support for industry professionals.

"Contemporary music in Australia has been ignored by government for too long. Music Australia will change that," Mr Burke said.

The minister said Creative Workplaces would lead to better protections for artists in Australia.

"Creative workers, like any other who have bills to pay and families to feed, have the opportunity to be part of a sustainable and secure profession," he said.

"In exchange for what they give us, they should have safe workplaces and be remunerated fairly."

The changes form part of the government's $286 million Revive program, which focuses on the arts.