NSW Labor promises minimum fee for musicians who play at publicly funded events

Home Politics NSW Labor promises minimum fee for musicians who play at publicly funded events
NSW Labor promises minimum fee for musicians who play at publicly funded events

NSW Labor has promised to make it mandatory that musicians receive a minimum fee if they play at events that have received public funding.

If it wins the state election in March, the Opposition said it would ensure musicians were paid at least $250 each for their performance.

The requirement would be a condition of a contract entered into by a commercial entity when it accepts a government grant for a show or event.

The Shadow Minister for Arts and the Night Time Economy, John Graham, said that currently there was no guarantee that musicians get paid.

“Musicians are some of the lowest-paid workers in NSW,” Mr Graham said.

“When public funding goes into an event, the public expect that the musicians are paid a reasonable wage.”

The pre-election announcement is a response to a push by Musicians Australia, an industry group backed by the union the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

The group has been campaigning since 2021 when federal and state governments created targeted grants to help bring back live performances which had been impacted by COVID-19.

The minimum fee of $250 which Labor is proposing, is in line with what Musicians Australia put forward.

a man talking outdoors
NSW Labor leader Chris Minns says musicians need to be treated as workers.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

Opposition leader Chris Minns said musicians needed to be “adequately compensated” for their work. 

“Musicians need to be understood as workers and as small businesses,” he said. 

Governments in South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and the ACT have expressed support for Musicians Australia’s call to set a pay minimum.

A year ago, Mr Graham raised the issue in the upper house of parliament.

He moved a motion, calling on the government to implement the minimum fee.

At the time, the Arts Minister Ben Franklin responded by telling parliament that the government had so many initiatives “I do not have time to name them all”.

“I do not doubt the commitment of the government to that industry,” he said.

“The government recognises that live music is one of the sectors most heavily impacted by the pandemic”.

But Mr Franklin did not make any reference to introducing a minimum fee requirement for musicians. 

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