Under a Shorten Labor Government, mental health issues in the music industry will be supported with $5 million in funding to be allocated to Support Act.
Support Act is the Australian music industry charity helping artists and music workers facing hardship due to illness, injury or other crisis impacting their ability to work.
In its recently announced Arts policy, the man who will be Minister for the Arts Tony Burke MP outlined Labor’s commitment.
Labor recognises that while artists work in situations that risk poor mental health, the work they create stimulates good mental health for all.
Labor will provide $5 million over five years to Support Act, a game changer for the mental health landscape in the industry, and provide ongoing funding of $200,000 to deliver a comprehensive mental health program for people throughout the music industry.
As part of our policy development process Labor will also look to ensure that artists can always access mental health support services and whether peak professional bodies can assist in this. There may be scope to establish a national employee assistance program to fund for professional practicing artists to access quality counselling when they need it.
In composing its Arts program Tony Burke says that “Labor recognises that while artists create significant value for the economy, artists’ work is often casual, precarious and unpredictable”.
Labor plans to clean up the loopholes in Centrelink that currently restricts artist support in unpredictable times.
In the construction of the new Arts policy, Tony Burke references Labor great Gough Whitlam who was the first Prime Minister to recognise the Arts as an industry and pursue an ambitious and independent approach to the cultural institutions of our nation.
In the upcoming Australian election this weekend, it is important for people in the Arts community to consider their future passed on past actions of both the Liberal and Labor parties.