Advocacy Work – March 2024

6 March 2024

As promised, we write today with further updates on the advocacy work we have been doing in response to the issues that were raised by you, our members, at the end of 2023.


With the exponential increase in public liability insurance costs faced by our live music venues still topping the list in terms of urgency, we invite you to our Navigating Insurance session. Taking place next week on Thursday 16 March at 6:00pm, the session will take an in-depth look at the work that has been done and our approaches for the future including what ‘market failure’ really means and when government intervention is warranted.


As we approach International Women’s Day it also feels fitting to share some updates on the work that has been done since the Raising Their Voices report was released. It is vital that those who generously and courageously shared their experiences are heard and that the work to bring about change continues to be done.


Please note that the issues that the report was examining may cause distress and can be unsettling. Support Act offer a dedicated Safety At Work helpline for artists, managers, crew and music workers which is a free, confidential phone counselling service available to anyone who works in music or the arts. It has trained clinicians for callers to speak with and is accessible by calling 1800 959 500 – option 5 within Australia. Remember: if you or someone you care about is in crisis or at immediate risk, dial 000.


While the report made 17 very clear recommendations, a lot of the immediate work has been for each business to get its own house in order, and we at Music Victoria are no exception.



  • We immediately signed the statement of acknowledgement alongside our colleagues – Recommendation 9.
  • We reviewed all our policies and procedures to ensure that they are explicit on behaviour standards and consequences and have made our Code of Conduct public on the Music Victoria website here – Recommendation 10 and 11.
  • We joined with (at least 150) our colleagues in signing up to Support Act’s Minimum Standards for a Mentally Healthy Workplace. You can sign here.
  • We undertook Phase One of the Music Money Matters survey to begin benchmarking salaries and drive gender equity in the industry–earnings data is common in other industries and yet very limited for the music industry. You can take the survey here – Recommendation 13.
  • We gifted our pilot Access All Areas bystander intervention training to Support Act who have refined it further to now allow it to be rolled out nationally to the industry for free. Find out when the training is next available here – Recommendation 10.
  • We supported the distribution of remaining review funds to be directed towards a First Peoples-led consultation to review systemic racism in the music industry – Recommendation 12.
  • I personally undertook “Responding with Compassion” training by Full Stop Australia to ensure that disclosures in the workplace are met with a trauma informed approach. This workshop is currently being evaluated by Support Act to see if it would be fit for purpose for the music industry – Recommendation 15.
  • We have also continued with the work that we were already doing in adhering to our policies including our cultural equity mission and gender quotas for all programs that we deliver, and advocating for such criteria to be included in all government funding arrangements – Recommendation 13, 14 and 16.



  • The establishment of Creative Workplaces as part of Creative Australia. Under the leadership of Creative Workplaces Council chaired by former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins AO, Kate Schaffner, Creative Workplaces’ remit is to promote fair, safe, and respectful workplaces for all Australian artists and arts workers. I had the pleasure of meeting with Kate Schaffner last month, and was pleased to find that Creative Workplaces is already across the Raising Their Voices report findings and has been briefed directly by the lead reviewer of the report. Sign yourself up to receive updates on the work of Creative Workplaces here – Recommendation 1 (with a remit to deliver on recommendations 2-8).
  • There has also been some fundamental changes in how Australia protects people from workplace sexual harassment as part of The Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022. The seven recommendations covered under the new law are:
      1. Prohibit hostile environments (Recommendation 16c)
      2. Place a positive duty on employers (Recommendation 17)
      3. Enforce compliance (Recommendation 18)
      4. Share legal costs (Recommendation 25)
      5. Enable systems inquiries (Recommendation 19)
      6. Allow representative applications (Recommendation 23)
      7. Mandate public sector reporting (Recommendation 43)
  • The removal of pay secrecy terms in employee contracts. This allows employees to discuss their pay with their colleagues (within and outside their employment) if they choose too and makes non-disclosure agreements around wages illegal. You can find out more here.
  • And finally, the public reporting of the gender pay gap at private companies–you can personally access the data here and read the media coverage here.

“This changes our settings from being reactive to also being proactive, so that employers are required to take meaningful action to prevent harassment from occurring. It shifts the emphasis from a complaints-based model to one where employers must take action, and continuously assess and evaluate whether they are meeting the requirements of the duty.”


While some of these actions may still feel a bit far removed from your everyday and the grassroots music scene, they are all essential in addressing the power imbalance that creates environments in which such awful behaviour can happen.


With such systemic issues, we need everyone to keep doing the work in making change, but to quote one of those brave voices who shared their experiences and participated in the independent review into sexual harm, sexual harassment and systemic discrimination in the Australian contemporary music industry “I feel optimistic that we are moving in the right direction”.


If you have any questions or want to have a deeper conversation, our door is always open.



Simone and the team at Music Victoria


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