The Guardian • Issue #2041


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2041

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) says the release of the new National Cultural Policy, Revive, is a major show of faith in the arts sector by the Albanese government after years of wilful neglect by its Coalition predecessors. The union says the Revive policy has been the result of widespread consultation with industry stakeholders that began soon after last year’s federal election. Most of the recommendations made in the MEAA’s submission to the policy review have been adopted, including giving a greater artistic and cultural voice to First Nations peoples; enhanced funding for the renamed Australia Council and for regional arts and culture; the establishment of Music Australia with $69 million of funding; an agency to enforce conditions and safety standards in the arts and entertainment industries; mandated minimum remuneration for musicians and performers contracted by the government; and a commitment to require streaming services to produce Australian content. MEAA Chief Executive Erin Madeley said the government had listened to stakeholders and shown it was prepared to act to reinvest in the sector and lift the wages of arts workers.

Revive provides a solid framework for the arts going forward, and it recognises the central role that the arts and arts workers play in our national story and as a major part of the economy. The policy also places a welcome emphasis on participation in artistic and creative activities at a community level so that all Australians, whatever their background or their age, wherever they live, can benefit from cultural activity.” MEAA Federal President Simon Collins noted that one policy does not erase the neglect of the sector over a long period. And the success of this policy will depend on how it is implemented, including how arts funding is allocated in the future. “But this is an important milestone in delivering confidence to arts workers that they are valued and respected by the government and the community and MEAA is keen to play a constructive role in delivering on the promise of this policy.”

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: Svitzer Towage’s ongoing attack on maritime workers’ pay and conditions continues. Svitzer towage’s enterprise bargaining agreement with the Maritime Union of Australia expired on 31st December 2019. In January 2022 Svitzer Australia applied to the Fair Work Commission to have the existing enterprise agreement terminated, which would push crew onto the minimum Award conditions, slash wages by 47 per cent, reduce safety standards, including minimum crewing numbers, and casualise secure jobs. Svitzer planned to lockout their entire Australian tug workforce from 18th November 2022 but that was ultimately dismissed by Fair Work Commission. The FWC, however, prevented further Protected Industrial Action by the unions for six months thus denying the union any industrial leverage to seek a resolution. Svitzer Australia workers have not had a pay rise in four years.

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