The Federal Government has back flipped on its threat to cut Sounds Australia funding and has pledged $1.16 million over the next four years. The announcement by Federal Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield was first shared with industry at Melbourne’s Face The Music conference on Friday 18 November.
“Today’s news that the Department of Communications and the Arts is supporting SOUNDS AUSTRALIA for the next four years is exactly the result we’ve been hoping for,” said Millie Millgate, executive producer at Sounds Australia. “It’s testament to the value of the national export platform and subsequent success Australian artists are enjoying around the world.”
At the conference, she explained that the organisation had expected not “to get to 50% of the international markets” and that the news “just couldn’t have come at a better time.”
The restored funding will match money provided by the Australia Council for the Arts and APRA AMCOS. Sounds Australia also receives support from PPCA, AMPAL, Arts Queensland, Arts SA, Arts NSW and the Victorian Government via Creative Victoria. Since being founded in 2009, the organisation has showcased Australian musicians at 50 events in 53 cities across 20 countries. These include South by Southwest (SXSW) in the US, the Aussie BBQ Tour of India, the World Music Expo in Spain and The Great Escape in the UK.
As recently as 19 October – at the Senate Estimates – the Federal Government stated that Sound Australia’s funding was not guaranteed beyond the end of 2016. “At the exact time we should be turning the volume up for live music, this government is reaching for the off switch. It can be fixed, it must be,” said Shadow Minister for the Arts Tony Burke.
Thousands of musicians and music industry figures campaigned against the cuts, with a petition titled Save Our Sounds on change.org attracting 6,269 signatures.
Ms Milligate said, “With all the regional and state and industry body partners and the way that this industry has come together to support our artists and industry and export, has been phenomenal. The support that we’ve had globally has been amazing and to have this current government recognise that and commit to four years is just beyond overwhelming.”