The Greens propose a living wage for artists

As bettors return to festivals and concerts, the Greens propose that artists still 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 artists’ pay would allow creatives to focus on their craft after struggling to make ends meet after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic and cuts to government funding for the arts.

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“The arts are an integral part of Australian culture and contribute enormously to our economy. We must do everything possible to ensure that our artists can continue to create,” Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said on Saturday.

“The arts have gotten us all through lockdowns and now is the time to be there for them.”

The program, to the tune of nearly $280 million based on a suspended parliament following the May 21 federal election, would also feature an Artists-in-Residence component that would place an artist in every school and library nationwide.

“In today’s rapid inflationary world, $772.60 will quickly run out for a single income family of a mother and father and two school children,” said David Bradbury , an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, in favor of the program.

“But it’s far better than what most of us earn in today’s Australia which is rapidly polarizing rich and poor.”

Greens Senate candidate David Shoebridge said the arts sector employs nearly 200,000 people, four times the workforce of coal mines, and contributes about $15 billion a year to the GDP of Australia.

“‘Imagine a pub without music, galleries without artwork, cinemas without films, bookshops without fiction,’ he said.

Michael A. Bynum