Greens propose living wage for artists

·1-min read

With punters flocking back to festivals and concerts, the Greens are proposing artists should always have a financial cushion to fall back on.

Up to 10,000 artists could sign up for the Greens' proposed pilot program in which they would be paid $772.60 a week for a year.

The party argues the Artists Wage would free creatives to focus on their craft after struggling to make ends meet following two years of cancellations due to the pandemic and cuts to government arts funding.

"The arts are a core part of Australian culture and contribute so much to our economy. We must do everything we can to make sure our artists can continue creating," Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said on Saturday.

"The arts helped us all get through lockdowns and now it's time we are there for them."

The program, to the tune of nearly $280 million contingent on a hung parliament following the May 21 federal election, would also have an Artists in Residence component that would place an artist in every school and library across the country.

"In today's fast inflationary world, $772.60 will quickly run out for a single income family of mum and dad and two kids at school," said David Bradbury, an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker, said in support of the scheme.

"But it's a bloody lot better than most of us earn in today's fast polarising Australia between the rich and the poor."

Greens Senate candidate David Shoebridge said the arts sector employed almost 200,000 people, making it four times the coalmining workforce, and contributed about $15 billion a year to Australia's GDP.

""Imagine a pub without music, galleries without artwork, cinemas without films, bookstores without fiction," he said.

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