Off the back of the Labor party announcing that if elected it will deliver $1.8 million a year for Australia’s music industry, The Greens have announced their proposed policy changes that will directly affect creatives and performers struggling to make a living.
As reported by The Age, Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt unveiled his party’s election promise today, highlighting the difficulty that musicians and other artists face trying to make a living. “By its nature the work of an artist is pretty precarious and few artists are able to make a sustainable living from their art alone,” he said.
The Greens’ new policy relates to the way that Centrelink tests for benefit eligibility. Activities that Centrelink deem would increase a person’s employability determine their likelihood of being able to access benefits, but at this stage those activities do not extend to things most artists do on top of other employment, like playing gigs and other artistic works.
“We are arguing that the test should be expanded to the kind of things artists are required to do to improve their craft,” said Bandt. “For example, putting on a performance for free, or sharing the work they’ve done as part of an exhibition.”
“Most artists have to supplement it with other forms of work,” said Bandt. “They’re expected to be proficient in their field and always improving. The majority of artists – they’ve been living hand to mouth for most of their working lives. With rising housing costs, including city areas where artists would have lived, that’s making it difficult as well.”
The Greens are also proposing that the amount of superannuation offset that artists are eligible for be upped from $500 to $1000 for low income earners, as well as implementing policy that would see artists be paid every time their artwork was featured in a gallery.
“I was astonished … when I found out that institutions would be exhibiting artists’ work without paying them a fee,” says Bandt. “The government needs to step in and help institutions pay artists a decent fee.”