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Australia’s Music Biz Welcomes Fresh Start With New Prime Minister, Government

"It's great news that we will have a prime minister who loves music and is a huge fan of the Australian music industry and our incredible local artists," says ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd.

BRISBANE, Australia — The Australian Labor Party’s victory in the federal election has been welcomed by the nation’s music industry as a fresh start, and as “great news” for a community that felt abandoned by the previous leadership during the most treacherous months of the pandemic.

Prime Minister elect Anthony Albanese was sworn in Monday (May 23) as Australia’s 31st prime minister at Government House in Canberra, the capital. Four senior frontbenchers were also officially sworn in.

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After nine years in opposition, the new PM got to work immediately. Later on Monday, he visited Japan for a meeting with the leaders of the Quad — the United States, India and Japan.

The music industry is also keen to get down to work with the ALP, the major center-left political party, and Albanese, who, with his well-known appetite for live music and fine taste in contemporary tunes, is seen as an ally.

“It’s great news that we will have a prime minister who loves music and is a huge fan of the Australian music industry and our incredible local artists,” comments Annabelle Herd, CEO of ARIA and PPCA.

“Despite the challenges of the past two years, the Australian recording industry remains one of the 10 largest in the world. Our size and resilience underlines the value of the music sector as a serious economic contributor and the fact music continues to be a vital part of the fabric of Australian lives.

Herd and her counterpart at APRA AMCOS and LPA have called on the new government to work closely with all parts of the music industry to support and grow local music businesses and to help drive the success of homegrown acts.

While other creative industries including film and TV have received strong support from government in recent years, the music business has been “largely left to fend for itself,” Herd explains.

“We are not asking for any handouts. We are asking for the new government to work with the industry to create a stronger future for music, our artists, and all creative industries.”

Live Performance Australia, the trade association for live entertainment, “looks forward to a new era in Australian politics,” says CEO Evelyn Richardson.

“The need for a whole of government approach that also realigns an effective working relationship between the federal and state ministers is critical,” she notes.

Ahead of the May 21 federal election, 16 industry bodies spoke with a unified voice on a “three-point plan,” a vision that would drive the music industry to greater heights.

The triple-threat focused on direct investment in the creation of great new Australian music, skills development and global exports, incentivising the use of local content on streaming and broadcast platforms, insurance to provide certainty for local audiences and programs to build industry sustainability through strong intellectual property and national mentorship programs.

APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston thanked the previous Morrison government and outgoing arts minister Paul Fletcher for “the support they showed our industry” during COVID-19, and welcomed the ALP leadership, which takes office for the first time since 2013.

“The opportunity for the Albanese Labor Government is to foster the development of music with a smart whole-of-government approach across the portfolios of cultural diplomacy, trade, tourism, small business, education, health and arts to take full advantage of the industry’s impact,” notes Ormston.

Labor arts spokesperson Tony Burke is another advocate for the music industry. Burke has spoken at APRA functions in years past, presented last week at the Australian Women in Music Awards and was a guest at the 2022 APRA Music Awards. Burke and Albanese both attended Byron Bay Bluesfest over the Easter long weekend.

Last week, Burke, who is expected to be named arts minister in Albanese’s cabinet, announced an arts and creative industries policy that would tackle some of the major issues facing the industry and commit to developing a cultural plan for the nation based on the 2013 Creative Australia policy.

The industry, notes Richardson, is “ready to hit the ground running and look forward to getting the consultation underway next week when the incoming arts minister is sworn in.”

Meanwhile, the vote count continued Wednesday as the ALP, also known as Labor, inched towards forming a majority government.