NSW Parliament votes in favour of $250 minimum wage for musicians performing at publicly-funded events

"When public funding goes into an event, the public expect that the musicians are paid a reasonable wage," commented Shadow Minister for Music John Graham

Overnight, New South Wales Parliament voted in favour of a resolution to provide a $250 minimum wage for musicians performing at publicly-funded events.

The motion was introduced in the Legislative Council by Shadow Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy John Graham on Tuesday (November 23), calling on NSW Government to implement a minimum fee of $250 for each artist when performing at an event funded with public money.

“Musicians are some of the state’s lowest paid workers. When public funding goes into an event, the public expect that the musicians are paid a reasonable wage. That is not always true,” Graham commented in a statement today (November 25).

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“We welcome this campaign. The NSW Opposition supports it and we were happy that the Parliament did too. The NSW Government should get on board.”

The campaign has been backed by Musicians Australia, the freelance musician arm of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. On their website, Musicians Australia outlines that the $250 rate it proposes is based on the Live Performance Award, requiring musicians be paid between $150-200 for a three-hour call out, with an additional $50-100 in “allowances”, like travel and meals.

Speaking to Sydney Morning Herald earlier this week, MEAA Musicians director Paul Davies explained that minimum wage requirements for artists performing at publicly-funded events were already in place in South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.

“If you pour beers at a pub or wait tables you’ll get a minimum wage by law but if you’re standing in the corner of the pub, holding a guitar and singing, you can be playing for peanuts,” Davies told SMH.

Forthcoming live music events in NSW that will be publicly-funded include the second edition of the Great Southern Nights concert series, introduced in 2020. That’s set to take place between March 18 and April 10 next year, funded by Destination NSW.

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