Australia’s music industry welcomes new Arts Minister

It’s official: Tony Burke is Australia’s Minister for the Arts, a nomination seen as the best-case scenario for the music industry.

When Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese announced his cabinet on Tuesday March 31, he made history and almost certainly brought joy to the creative industries.

The new Albanese government sets a record for female representation (10) and includes Muslim prime ministers.

Outgoing Minister Paul Fletcher’s responsibilities have been split, with Burke taking over the arts portfolio and Michelle Rowland the communications portfolio.

ARIA and PPCA congratulated Burke and hailed his commitment to rapidly developing a national cultural policy that “recognizes the true social, cultural and economic value of music,” read a statement from the industry bodies.

Burke has positioned himself as the champion of the music industry and is a regular at music industry events. He attended Bluesfest this year, was a guest at the APRA Music Awards in Melbourne and presented a category at the Australian Women in Music Awards in Brisbane.

To prove his worth as an ally, Burke, as Shadow Minister, spoke at an APRA AMCOS Breakfast during Bigsound in 2018, covering a range of topics from copyright and change streaming format, without notes.

Burke “has a clear passion for local music and understands the opportunities and challenges facing the industry,” reads the joint statement from ARIA and PPCA.

“For too long, our industry has pushed for measurable and thoughtful support given the disruptions of recent years; we look forward to working with the minister on a roadmap to real recovery and growth.

APRA AMCOS also hosted Burke, who was sworn in on Wednesday, June 1.

“We look forward to working with you and the Albanian government on a plan to develop the next chapter in the success of Australia’s great music industry,” read a social message from the PRO.

The industry’s three-point plan, presented ahead of the May 21 federal election, emphasizes direct investment in the creation of great new Australian music, skills development and global exports, incentivizing 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.

ARIA and PPCA also welcome the appointment of Mark Dreyfus as Attorney General, a position responsible for copyright; and new Communications Minister Michelle Rowland, who the industry says will find “sustainable ways to showcase and promote more local music on our broadcast platforms, especially radio.”

Earlier in the week, Ford Ennals, CEO of Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), welcomed Rowland as “an excellent appointment” who “has deep media expertise and the radio industry welcomes his stated commitment to making bringing Australian media laws into the digital age”.

The welcome mat was also rolled out by British rock ‘n’ roll royalty.

In a social post, Billy Bragg paid tribute to “old homie Albo” and the joy that a new beginning brings.

“The people gave him a mandate for change – to create a new Australia committed to acting collectively for the common good,” Bragg writes. “I know Albo is the right person for the job. He has a socialism at heart.

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