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The Greens Latest Policy to Support Artists with a ‘Living Wage’

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Whether you are a Greens supporter or not, their latest policy is still intriguing. It’s highly contrary to the Liberal Government’s idea of cutting funds to the arts, and works in the completely opposite direction to the disinterest of Arts in the 2016-17 budget.

Federal Member for Melbourne and the Australian Greens Treasury Spokesperson, Adam Bandt announced:

The Greens have a fully costed plan to support artists to secure a living wage while their income is low and to help them save and plan for their retirement.”

This policy has evolved from The Greens’ idea in the 2013 federal election. In reverse to the Liberal government’s hope of cutting more finances, The Greens plan involves investing a further $270.2 million into the arts.

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The Greens stated that back in 2002, the Myer Report on Contemporary Visual Arts and Craft proposed to the government that artistic endeavours must be recognised in the social security system. Labor promised to do eventuate this proposal, but never delivered a policy to change the relationship between social security and the arts.

In addition, The Honourable Mark Dreyfus QC, Shadow Minister for the Arts, said the 2016-17 Budget locks in brutal cuts:

“The Abbott-Turnbull government’s record on the arts is marked by nothing but cuts and disinterest. There was not a single line … on the arts, which shows just how poorly this government values the sector.”

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With The Greens’ latest policy, artists who are unemployed or earn very little are finally being recognised at the heart of a campaign. The Greens believe an insecure nature of employment initially gives artists less time to develop on their skills so:

Greens are committed to supporting and promoting Australian artists and their work, and particularly encouraging young and emerging artists as they establish their careers.”

The Greens’ plan includes:

  • Restoring the full amount of funding cut from the Australia Council, ensuring that more individual artists and small to medium arts organisations can access Australia Council grants and re-establishing programs that were cut.
  • Providing an additional $3 million to the ArtStart program over the next four years.
  • Establishing a National Arts Week by providing funding of $1 million over the next four years.

The Greens explain that artists entertain, challenge and inspire us here in Australia. Artists are at the core of our cultural life, hence this policy has been created in favour of their emerging careers.