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Arts – Live Performers

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 5 June 2023

Tags: Arts, Music, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - I am interested to hear about local acts attracting local audiences. That's really good. We have been contacted by some local musicians. You may have been too, minister, and be aware of some of the issues musicians are facing with the live music industry down here. Many are still finding it difficult to work post lockdowns.

We understand it is commonplace for venues and event organisers to receive government grants which are aimed at supporting the live music industry and the arts but then the grant money is not going towards the performers. Is there any way you can have a look at the grants that are being paid to event organisers and venues to put in some requirements so that they pay local performers?

Ms O'BYRNE - And local tech.

Mr SUDMALIS - We have encountered this issue from time to time. There are a couple of places where we try to address this matter. At the application stage we require that artist fees are a component of the budget and we expect them to be fully explained. At acquittal and during the process when we check in, we ask how funds have been dispersed. We do not entertain the non-payment of artists lightly.

Ms O'CONNOR - You understand it is happening?

Mr SUDMALIS - It happens from time to time. It also happens in places where we might not have a direct contractual line of sight. In Arts Tasmania we have certain clients that will apply to us, but there is a whole music industry. A whole music sector of live performance that has no relationship with Arts Tasmania in a contractual sense.

Ms O'CONNOR - No, I understand that. It goes to my next question.

Minister, we understand it's quite common, and I have heard this from some musicians, for many musicians and bands to have to enter into negotiations with venues and event organisers about pay for their time and performances. In some cases musicians are expected to provide their services for little or no fee, or operate under a hall-to-hire type arrangements where they pay for the use of a space and rely on ticket sales for payment. Do you know if there are any legislative requirements for musicians and live performers to be paid at an award rate or a minimum fee? If so, whether these standards are enforced? It strikes us that performers are really getting a raw deal unless they are the big acts.

Ms ARCHER - As for any awards I would have to look into that. Can we take that on notice? It is concerning and I think it would be -

Ms O'CONNOR - It is exploitative.

Ms ARCHER - It would be good if we could look at something stronger within our involvement as to whether or not there is something we could.

Ms O'CONNOR - What you can control through the grants.

Ms ARCHER - Yes.

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, has the Government endorsed the $250 Musicians Australia minimum fee as have South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT?

Ms ARCHER - I think that is a yes.

Ms O'CONNOR - How is that support for the minimum fee being passed on to event organisers and venue owners?

Ms ARCHER - A good question. Mr Sudmalis?

Ms O'CONNOR - It might help them decide not to exploit performers.

Mr SUDMALIS - There are a couple of dimensions to that approach. It comes very much directly out of the Revive arts and cultural policy that requires a $250 minimum payment for a musician for any employment undertaken by the Australian government in that case. As a first step, we require a minimum of $250 for anything that is involving the Tasmanian government and that includes the use of a Tasmanian piece of music for social media or any other broadcast we pay that as well for that instance.

The second one then relates to parties that may have made application to Arts Tasmania for support and we require the payment of artists to be annotated in their budget and how they have arrived at their fee. Our standard is unequivocally $250 per musician.

Ms O'BYRNE - Base, as a minimum payment, not a paid payment.

Ms O'CONNOR - Just to wind up on that line of questioning, are you happy if I put that second bit of the question which I will check with you before I put it down on notice?

Ms ARCHER - Whether or not the award, were they paid (indistinct) for the award?

Ms O'CONNOR - Are there legislative requirements for musicians and live performers.

Ms ARCHER - I am happy to look at that and happy to consider it further.

Ms O'CONNOR - I suspect there are not.

Ms ARCHER - I suspect so as well.