Labor's reported backtrack on a minimum wage for artists adds more weight to the Greens' call for a Senate Inquiry into the Government's National Cultural Policy launched on Monday.
The Greens pledged support ahead of the 2022 election for legislating a minimum performance fee to provide stability for live performers. They also called for an Artists Wage pilot program which would pay minimum wage for up to 10,000 established or emerging artists for a full calendar year. The initiative would ensure artists are able to create without added pressures of living costs, and would give back to the economy through the work they create.
Greens Spokesperson for the Arts Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:
"I announced the Greens will be moving for a Senate Inquiry to examine the detail of the National Cultural Policy. Today we have another example of why it is important that the policy be fully examined, gaps identified and recommendations for improvement made.
"A National Cultural Policy is very welcome, but we have an opportunity to make it the best it can be.
"Artists and creatives are confused to hear this backtrack on a minimum wage after comments by Labor to the contrary.
"If we truly value our artists and creatives as workers then they must be guaranteed payment for their work.
"The Greens have backed calls for a minimum performance fee for artists performing at publicly funded events to be legislated. This will ensure live performers are recognised and remunerated for their work, and help provide some stability for artists. This fee reflects industry standards for payment as determined by industry bodies, and supports the call from key stakeholder, including Musicians Australia and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance for the Government to uphold the same standards.
"Australia also shouldn't just sit by and watch the Basic Income for the Arts scheme being trialled in Ireland, we need to get on with our own. There will be immediate benefit from a trial for artists, our economy and our communities and it will be far more relevant for our own arts and culture ecosystem.
"The Greens will keep pushing Labor to deliver the best arts and culture policy we can have in this nation, with adequate funding and timely delivery."