New Federal Arts Minister gets to work + all the biggest industry headlines
06.06.2022

New Federal Arts Minister gets to work + all the biggest industry headlines

(Image: Pawel Bukowski)
Words by Christie Eliezer

Report shows Australian music workers suffer high psychological distress, 4ESydney HipHop Festival & Conference returning, and more!

Been out of the loop with everything that’s been going on in the music industry recently? We don’t blame you. Here’s a wrap-up of all the biggest Aussie music industry news stories from the past fortnight.

The top headlines:

  • New Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke gets to work.
  • Report shows Australian music workers suffer high psychological distress.
  • 4ESydney HipHop Festival & Conference returning.

Keep up to date with the latest industry news here.

New Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke gets to work

Within hours of being sworn in as new federal Minister for the Arts last week, Tony Burke was assuring the arts and music sector, “The nine-year political attack on the arts and entertainment sector is now over.

“The neglect, the contempt and the sabotage of the previous government has ended.”

His first step is to develop a new National Cultural Policy “to bring drive, direction and vision back to the sector,” and to be introduced by end of 2022.

In coming months, the guitar-playing minister will consult with the sector in each state and territory to shape this Policy.

“It is important for us to get this right – but speed is of the essence,’ Burke said.

There will also be a process where everyone can have their say by submitting their ideas through here.

There’ll be a series of town hall meetings, the dates of which will be posted shortly on www.arts.gov.au.

Federal Labor’s election promises included a national insurance scheme for live events, promoting Aussie creators on streaming platforms, stronger protection from ticket scalpers, and placing First Nations culture at the centre.

The music industry signalled it’ll also be expecting tax incentives, skills development, global exports, and programs to build industry sustainability through strong intellectual property and national mentorship programs.

Burke’s portfolios also include employment and workplace relations, which would be beneficial to the music and arts sectors.

The industry also welcomed, with plans to work closely with newly appointed Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, to push for more Australian content on radio and streaming services and provide certainty to community radio and TV; new Attorney General Mark Dreyfus for stronger copyright protection; and Susan Templeman, the Member for Macquarie, who was appointed Special Envoy for the Arts.

4ESydney HipHop Festival & Conference returning

The 4ESydney HipHop festival & Conference returns “to celebrate and unite the community of hip hop once again”, in partnership with Blacktown Arts.

Friday June 24: conference looking at ‘the new normal’, investment in Western Sydney, amplification of spaces and the new industries hiphop is moving into, with keynotes from Alethea Beetson (Spotify/Blak Social) and K-Sera (CADA 96.5FM).

Saturday June 25: showcases of performances, DJs, dance, graffiti, and more.

Report shows 66 per cent of Australian music workers suffer high psychological distress

Support Act’s first Mental Health and Wellbeing in Music and Live Performing Arts survey of 1,300 Australian music workers showed 66 per cent suffered high psychological distress, over four times the general population.

It was more common among non-binary people (83 per cent) and women (72 per cent), people under 35 (75 per cent), people with a disability or long-term health condition (81 per cent) and those on a very low income (81 per cent).

Fifty-nine per cent experienced suicidal thoughts, four and a half times that of general population. Twenty per cent had planned to take their own life and 13 per cent had attempted suicide.

Thirty-five per cent reported a mental health condition, 29 per cent an anxiety condition, and 27 per cent had depression.

Over half (54 per cent) used drugs or alcohol to help with the stresses of life over the past two years and 25 per cent had tried to cut down, control, or stop their use in the past year but were unsuccessful.

On the topic of work, over a third of participants reported income from their work in music/live performing arts as less than $30,000 per annum, which is below the poverty line. 47 per cent said they had an unpredictable work schedule and almost a third (31 per cent) were worried to a large or very large extent about becoming unemployed.

Over a third reported incomes from their work in music/live performing arts as less than $30,000 per annum, which is below the poverty line.

Just 15 per cent felt safe at work all of the time, with 35 per cent saying they were exposed to unsafe working conditions in the last year.

The survey, conducted with the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne, was released at Support Act’s Head First conference.

Its CEO Clive Miller told Mixdown the meet was “a huge success, the speakers were so eloquent and the delegates were totally engaged, they stayed throughout the entire panels.”

Charity golf game pits musos vs. execs

With the national music industry meeting up at Splendour In The Grass in Byron, what better way to spend the lead up than the first Music Industry Masters charity golf tournament a day before it begins.

Meeting up at Byron Bay Golf Club on Thursday July 21 are musicians such as Dune Rats, Didirri, Ruby Fields, Bernard Fanning, Delta Riggs, and Alice Ivy teeing off against artist managers, promoters, label executives, media heads and bookers. See www.mimcup.com to see full lineup and to register.

Proceeds donated to not-for-profit record label Music In Exile; CrewCare; and the Ngunya Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area.

Venues: Funding, Sales, Debuts, Wins, Busts

A myriad of Melbourne metro venues benefit from the latest four-million-dollar run of the Victorian state government’s On The Road Again initiative which will deliver over 100 gigs.

Southside Live will present a free program of live music on St Kilda’s foreshore in June and July.

The City of Maribyrnong will produce a weekly live music program at emerging music venues in Footscray, Moreland City Council will deliver up to 85 events partnering with local businesses and venues, and Moonee Valley City Council will host new events – Illuminate the River and MoPo Winter and Spring Sessions.

City of Stonnington will present a block party at Prahran Square and Chapel Fringe Sessions, three nights in October. Yarra City Council will host Leaps and Bounds + BEYOND 2022.

Hobsons Bay City Council presents three showcases to establish Altona’s Civic Theatre as a new venue for live music in the west.

Community Broadcasting Association of Australia will partner with stations including Triple R, Joy FM and PBS to co-produce eight live music events across Melbourne.

The Newcastle West building on Parry Street which houses The Edwards venue, co-owned by Chris Joannou of Silverchair fame, was sold for four million dollars to a Sydney investor.

The Edwards, which generates a net $200,000 a year, will continue to run there. Joannou and two mates began running it in 2014. Seventy per cent of it was destroyed in a fire in June 2018, putting it out of action or a year.

Cairns’ live music showcasing Dunwoody’s is back in action this week after a seven-month 2.5-million-dollar facelift.

Mamma Chen’s in Footscray in West Melbourne is starting to make a name for itself with its 90-capacity bandroom as a launching pad. It’s run by muso Emily Chen and her mum.

A weekend crackdown on 34 Gold Coast venues found that of 59 security guards, five were not licensed.

The maximum penalty for a first-time offence is $68,000; then $96,000 or six-months jail; and third strike is $137,000 or 18-months jail.

Melbourne nightclub Love Machine is back in the news, this time with a 35-year old man charged with rape from two years ago. It allegedly happened in the same unisexual toilet cubicle ten minutes apart by a 22-year-old man who was last month committed to stand trial.

At the Tasmanian Hospitality Association’s Awards for Excellence 2022, the Best Live Music or Entertainment Venue was won by Irish Murphys, with The Richmond Arms and Shoreline as runners-up.

Check out more here.