The arts and artists are chronically underfunded.
Arts organisations struggle with funding uncertainties, and artists are leaving the sector in droves because it’s too hard to make ends meet.
It’s time to treat the arts as a public good, matched by public funding.
Art is fundamental to our society. It brings us joy, fun, deep thinking, connection with each other, and new ways of understanding the world and our place in it.
The arts also play a key role in Victoria’s economy. It contributes 7% of our total economy, and 9% of the Victorian workforce is employed in creative industries. Beyond this, millions of visitors come to Victoria every year to attend our galleries and museums, festivals, theatres, music events and more.
The Greens' plan to make art everywhere, for everyone, includes:
A new $1 billion Secure Future Art Fund for small and medium arts organisations to provide the ongoing funding they need to support artists and deliver the arts projects and events we all love so much.
Living wage and sick pay: a Living Wage for Victorian Artists pilot program to give artists a stable foundation to develop, create and innovate, and a Sick Pay for the Arts scheme, to give artists and arts workers the same rights as other casual and contract workers.
Support for dedicated arts spaces, including protecting significant existing spaces, new subsidised artist spaces, and support for artist studios and pop-up creative spaces in vacant premises.
$100 million per year for festivals, with a focus on bringing arts events back into Melbourne’s CBD and inner city.
FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT OUR PLAN:
1. The Secure Future Art Fund for small to medium arts organisations
The independent and small-to-medium arts sector is the engine room for the arts, yet they are often overlooked or strung along with small amounts of insecure funding.
We need to nurture our local arts ecologies and support independent artists and small to medium organisations just as much as we support the big museums, theatres and festivals. Small organisations are not just important as stepping stones for bigger things - they are valuable in their own right. These small galleries, artist-run-initiatives, theatres and performance venues make our streets and neighbourhoods exciting, feed our evolving and multifaceted culture, and connect people and ideas. They help us understand our past, and reimagine our future.
The Greens Secure Future Art Fund will work by allocating about $100 million per year from an ongoing fund to small and medium arts organisations, including a dedicated stream for First Nations organisations. Organisations will receive funding for 5-year periods to provide stability and security to the sector, so that everyone can enjoy this public good.
2. A Living Wage and Sick Pay for arts workers
Artists provide a public good to all of us, yet face enormous financial instability. The Greens’ plan includes two key initiatives to provide artists with the security they need to develop and make innovative creative work:
- A Living Wage for Victorian Artists pilot program
- Sick Pay for the Arts scheme
A Living Wage for Artists
The Greens are proposing A Living Wage for Victorian Artists pilot program to support 2000 practising Victorian artists with a living wage ($42,200pa) to enable them to have the freedom and stability to develop, create and present work. The cost of the pilot program is $253 million over three years. Applications will be open to artists, musicians, dancers, theatre makers, filmmakers and writers via a non-competitive process. It is not open to salaried workers in the creative sector.
Sick Pay for Artists
In August 2022, the Victorian Government announced a Sick Pay Guarantee for casual and contract workers, but artists and arts workers were left out. The Greens’ Sick Pay for the Arts scheme rectifies this with a $10 million investment in the sector, providing security for artists and art workers by including them in the program and covering them for lost income when they need to stay home due to illness.
3. Supporting arts spaces
Stable, affordable arts spaces are crucial to the vitality of our creative sector. And yet, rapidly gentrifying urban areas push out arts spaces, and many of Victoria’s iconic arts spaces (like the Nicholas Building, Bakehouse Studios and The Tote) are at risk of being sold off.
The Greens’ plan for supporting arts spaces includes a systematic review of our cultural spaces and subsequent planning controls to protect the significant cultural contribution of those spaces.
Affordable work spaces are important for artists to be able to create, develop and present their work. Our plan includes a Percent-for-Art scheme for new major developments, which requires contributions from developers towards subsidised arts spaces and new public art commissions to keep art and artists in areas of rapid growth and increasing rents.
To activate empty shop fronts, the Greens will support artist studios and pop-up shops in vacant premises with seed funding and administrative support to assist with finding and negotiating vacant properties and long-term leases. We've committed $50m over forward estimates for supporting artist studios and pop-up shops, festivals and events, and a Shopping Strip Revitalisation Unit.
4. Secure funding to support arts festivals
Festivals from the Fringe Festival to the Comedy Festival to the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival often run on the smell of an oily rag or exist on unstable year-to-year government funding.
The Greens’ Plan for the Arts includes a new festivals fund to provide longer-term funding that would give festivals the stability and security to thrive. Our plan commits $100 million per year to provide year-on-year funding so festivals can maintain their core staff team and office space, and can plan ahead without funding uncertainty hanging over them.
COVID has hit arts and festivals especially hard, and this fund will give them the certainty they need to re-establish and strengthen their important, enriching work.
PAYING FOR OUR PLANS
The Greens will pay for our plans by making the big banks, property developers and the gambling industry pay their fair share of tax. We’ll increase royalties on coal and gas corporations before they close, charge banks a levy on their profits, tax developers more when they make windfall profits and increase the tax on online betting. Our plans will also be paid for by spending smarter and making our state borrowings work for the community.
The Secure Future Art Fund and the festivals fund would both be set up with seed funding in the general government sector.