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SUPPORT FOR THE ARTS

The Brunswick electorate has a proud history of nurturing and supporting artists in our community. In fact, Brunswick has more songwriters per capita than any other suburb in Australia.

We take pride in our vibrant, colourful streets and galleries, and we love that we can take our pick of live music, comedy or theatre in an iconic venue any night of the week. For many of us, the arts scene is a big part of why we choose to live here.

But in Victoria, the arts are chronically underfunded, arts organisations struggle with funding uncertainties, and artists have been changing careers  in droves because it’s so hard to make ends meet.

It’s time to treat the arts as a public good, and support it with public funding.

The Greens and I have a plan to support the arts everywhere, for everyone:

 

 

Here’s our plan to make art everywhere, for everyone:

  • A new $1 billion Secure Future Art Fund for small and medium arts organisations to provide the ongoing funding they need to support artists and deliver the arts projects and events we all love so much. 
  • Living wage and sick pay: a Living Wage for Victorian Artists pilot program to give artists a stable foundation to develop, create and innovate, and a Sick Pay for the Arts scheme, to give artists and arts workers the same rights as other casual and contract workers.
  • Support for dedicated arts spaces, including protecting significant existing spaces, new subsidised artist spaces, and support for artist studios and pop-up creative spaces in vacant premises.
  • $100 million per year for festivals, with a focus on bringing arts events back into Melbourne’s CBD and inner city.

And in Brunswick, I’ll be commissioning more local public art - like I did last year for my Brunswick Art Ride.

Over the last few years, the effects of the pandemic have meant that artists, performers and venues went without income for long periods of time, and even after things began to open up, they were impacted by limited venue capacity and density requirements. 

In Brunswick and around Victoria, we heard from a number of individual venue operators who were bearing the impact of restrictions without adequate government support. 

Together with my Greens colleagues, we wrote to ministers on numerous occasions, asking them to intervene to help the individuals who had contacted us (with varying success. We also asked the government to expand the eligibility for business supports; to provide financial support to small live performance venues whenever density limits applied; and to review density limits to ensure they were fair, reasonable and consistent. 

Not all of our requests were successful, but I was pleased when our advocacy contributed to the reinstatement of the small business ventilation grants, extension of the commercial rent relief scheme, and another round of business support (even though it didn’t go far enough). 

We also helped a number of artists and performers get back to Victoria when the sudden border closure meant they were stuck in NSW with no support for weeks on end.

Between lockdowns, I personally attended, helped promote, and donated to arts events and venues wherever possible. I was struck by the optimism and community spirit of these artists during extraordinarily difficult circumstances. But as a community, we shouldn’t force artists and venues to be resilient - we should actively support them to thrive.

And the Greens and I are committed to doing just that.

To learn more about the Greens’ arts policy and sign up to our campaign, click here.

And to share your own ideas - or to invite me to your next show - you can always get in touch on social media or by email at [email protected] 

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