The future of Sounds Australia hangs in the balance, with the Federal Government flirting with the idea of axing funding to the vital arts body at the end of the year.
During a Senate Estimates sitting this week, the Turnbull Government confirmed that future spending on the successful initiative has not been guaranteed past December, and music supporters are more Angry than this guy:
“This government seems determined to attack live music from every angle,” says Shadow Arts Minister Tony Burke.
“Support has dropped off for the Live Music Office, The Australia Council funding has been attacked and visa arrangements look set to cause real damage to the touring and festival circuit,” he says, referring to the Government’s plan to jack up the price of visas for international artists wanting to tour Australia.
The success of Sounds Australia — a joint initiative from Australia Council and APRA AMCOS designed to help give Aussie artists a leg-up in the international market — has been undeniable, boosting the number of homegrown acts appearing at global events by a whopping 437 per cent (from 49 to 263) in the space of just five years.
And Burke hasn’t taken the Government’s indifference to its continued existence lying down, laying out a total verbal smackdown:
“With the advent of streaming Australian artists rely more and more on live performance to be able to remain in the industry. Accessing the international market is essential to making sure Australian music can thrive. The Minister can fix this with one simple decision,” he says.
“At the exact time we should be turning the volume up for live music this government is
reaching for the off switch. It can be fixed, it must be.
“All it takes is for the Minister Mitch Fifield to guarantee funding for Sounds Australia for next year and beyond and our live musicians will be able to continue to have the opportunities and support essential for an Australian soundtrack.”
Music Feeds has commented Arts Minister Mitch Fifield for comment.
This latest development comes after the Turnbull Government unveiled their pre-election arts funding package back in May, which allocated millions of dollars to the Australian Ballet, Playwriting Australia and the National Library, but zilch to Sounds Australia.
Outraged music lovers responded by launching a petition and social media campaign dubbed #SaveOurSounds, which garnered over 6,000 signatures.
The petition has since closed, but its masterminds are urging concerned punters to keep writing to their local MPs to demand a future funding for Sounds Australia.