After the Federal government announced that its newly created Catalyst Australian Arts and Culture Fund would deliver absolutely zero funding for the music industry, Prime Minister Turnbull and co came under immense criticism from artists, industry and the Australian public for a “shambolic” funding model.
Australia’s largest body behind the export of our musicians to international markets Sounds Australia called out the government for the move, and now the Labor Party has responded with its own new arts funding model, to be implemented if it is elected.
The policy was unveiled by opposition leader Bill Shorten in Melbourne at the Malthouse Theatre on Saturday, with Shorten promising first and foremost to axe the Catalyst funding program entirely, a move which would hand back control of funding to the Australia Council; an independent body.
A more detailed explanation of Labor’s policy has since been posted on the party’s official website, outlining that if elected they’ll commit $1.8 million a year over four years to support the expanded Sounds Australia.
“Sounds Australia is Australia’s music export market development initiative – fast-tracking Australian music success globally,” reads the policy statement. “This new structure will leverage and expand its success to support the development of Australia’s live music export industry. It will also formalise a four-year industry and government investment partnership to strengthen one of our greatest creative industries.”
The statement also outlines three key areas which the expanded Sounds Australia will develop. The Labor party will seek to “expand the operation of Sounds Australia to include the export of all music genres to key and emerging international markets,” while also aiming to “expand the remit of the Live Music Office to include all genres and venue types,” and finally to “use the Australian Music Centre content management system to aggregate and promote Australian artists and music content.”
Sounds Australia Executive Producer Mille Millgate responded to the news in a statement on the APRA AMCOS website. “An investment in Sounds Australia is an investment in fast-tracking music export success globally. Australian talent is far too good to not be seen on the world stage.”
— Jimmy Barnes (@JimmyBarnes) June 4, 2016
This follows a promise by Labor to restore funding to community radio, after the Federal government announced plans to gut $1.4 million per annum from Digital Community Radio.