Artists would receive a living wage under the pilot program

The Victoria Greens have launched their plan for a pilot scheme that would see practicing Victorian artists paid a living wage over three years.

The program would support 2,000 artists by paying them $42,200 a year to allow them the freedom and stability to develop, create and present work.

It would cost $252 million over three years and would be open to artists, musicians, dancers, theater makers, filmmakers and writers.

The program is part of the Greens’ bold arts policy in the run-up to national elections in November.

It was developed with input from Greens candidate for Richmond, Gabrielle de Vietri, who herself has exhibited in major galleries and museums as an artist for 15 years.

The policy includes:

  • A Living Wage for Victorian Artists pilot program to give artists a stable base to grow, create and innovate.
  • A Sick Pay for the Arts program, to give artists and arts workers the same rights as other casual and contract workers.
  • A $1 billion Secure Art Fund for small and medium-sized arts organizations to provide the ongoing funding they need to support artists and deliver the art projects and events we all love.
  • A $100 million a year funding program for new festivals, with a focus on bringing arts events back to downtown.

The arts play a key role in Victoria’s economy. They contribute seven percent of our total economy and nine percent of the Victorian workforce is employed in the creative industries.

Beyond that, millions of visitors come to Victoria each year to attend our galleries and museums, festivals, theatres, music events and more.

Yet the arts and artists are chronically underfunded. Arts organizations are struggling with funding uncertainties and artists are leaving the sector in droves because it is too difficult to make ends meet.

The pandemic has also weighed heavily on artists who are struggling to make ends meet with little or no support from governments.

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

As Victorian Greens Richmond candidate Gabrielle de Vietri said:

“Art is fundamental in our society. It brings us joy, fun, deep reflection, connection with each other, and new ways of understanding the world and our place in it.

“Here in Victoria, the arts contribute so much to our culture and economy and yet so many artists are left struggling by a government that doesn’t want to support them properly.

“Greens want artists to be paid a living wage and have the same rights as other casual and contract workers. We also want to support our small and medium independent arts sector with adequate funding so that it can continue to thrive long into the future.

“It’s time to treat the arts as a public good, with public funding.”

As Victoria Greens Deputy Leader MP Ellen Sandell said:

“Arts and culture are at the heart of what makes Melbourne great, and we need to make sure the next Victorian government invests in the arts properly.

“During COVID, the arts have been decimated. We need to value the arts much more than governments currently do.

“With more Greens in Parliament, we can push the next government to ensure all kinds of artists are supported to create the projects and events that make Melbourne iconic.”

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Michael A. Bynum