The NSW Parliament has formally thrown its support behind a “broad cultural review” of the Australian music industry, addressing the issues of sexual harassment and systemic discrimination (officially named the Music Industry Review).
As reported by The Music Network yesterday (February 23), a motion to support the review was filed by Labour MP and shadow minister for music, John Graham. “We want this to be a very positive step,” Graham said in a statement, “even though it won’t be easy to tackle these issues of sexual harm, harassment and discrimination.
Praising the efforts of the temporary working group integral in launching the review, Graham continued: “The music industry leads in so many debates. We need them to lead in this one. It doesn’t matter which industry or which role you work in, workers need to be able to feel safe in their place of work.”
The review was initially put in motion back in December, led by consultants Alex Shehadie and Sam Turner. Both were selected after a tender process by the temporary working group, which formed after a May 2021 meeting about sexual assault in the Australian music industry.
Three of the group’s seven members – musician Deena Lynch (aka Jaguar Jonze), MusicNSW managing director Emily Collins, and Australian Festival Association general manager Julia Robinson – will remain involved “to support continuity and ensure the review keeps on track”.
The review will entail focus groups, one-on-one interviews, an online survey and a “confidential online written submission process”. The interview process kicked off earlier this month, with the focus groups starting today (February 24). The review hopes to include a wide range of people, workers and bodies across the music industry, including venues, labels, promoters, studios and more.
In addition to groups that are open to all members of the industry, there will be five specialised groups teed up to contributors feel more comfortable. These include dedicated groups for women and men, groups for First Nations peoples, and an LGBTIQ+ group. Those interested in contributing can register to do so here, while an option to submit a written statement via email (to firstname.lastname@example.org) has also been established.
The review will culminate in a final report, currently slated for publication in June, that identifies key issues and makes “sustainable recommendations with impact”. On its website, the review’s organisers note that it “will not investigate any individual incident but will be a broad cultural review”.
It’s also been stressed that final report will be entirely anonymous; neither people involved in the review, nor any accused perpetrators, will have their names published in the findings. The review’s FAQ page does, however, note that “reporting mechanisms will be considered as part of the review”, meaning identities may be disclosed to those conducting the review.
Integral to the review’s operation is Support Act, the Australian charity that provides crisis relief and mental health support to workers in the music industry. Among other duties, Support Act will help fund the review and assist in managing its finances. The review aims to raise a budget of $400,000, with other funders including APRA AMCOS, ARIA PPCA and Australia Council.
Warner Music Australasia has also voiced its support, with president Dan Rosen saying in a press statement upon the review’s announcement: “There has never been a more important time to recognise that the responsibility falls on each of us to evolve and be positive participants in the change that our industry needs.”