Australia Council joins call for fair pay for artists following latest research


Research released today by the Australia Council shows a deterioration in artists’ incomes while artistic practice itself continues to expand and diversify.

The research, funded by the Australia Council, has been released with a clear statement from CEO Tony Grybowski on what’s at stake if arts policy and artists’ pay do not address the research’s findings.

“If we want Australian stories to keep being told and Australia’s diverse artistic talent to succeed locally and internationally we must consider the support structures, protections and remuneration of Australian artists,” Mr Grybowski said.

Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia is the sixth report to emerge from the thirty-year study led by Macquarie University’s Prof David Throsby AO.

With a welcome focus on working conditions for artists, the report details the challenges faced by artists in sustaining their career, specifically addressing key areas such as working patterns, financial security, multiple income sources, regional differences, and static gender and cultural diversity.

These findings back the NAVA Fair Pay for Artists campaign and the 2016 S2M Report, intensifying calls for revised tax rulings for income averaging, tax exemptions for awards, protection of intellectual property, strengthened cultural and gender diversity, and artists’ fees that are fair, with the industry standards in our Codes of Practice reflecting a minimum level.

“NAVA welcomes this comprehensive study, which affirms and amplifies the findings of our own recent research,“ said Esther Anatolitis, Executive Director. “While it’s heartening to see clear evidence of new leaps across artform, discipline and technology, it’s alarming to see the decline in artists’ incomes, career confidence, and respect for artists’ rights and control over their work. It’s equally alarming to see that gender inequality in income and career opportunity has now become “a serious problem.” Exposing the precarious working conditions facing more and more artists, Making Art Work identifies a critical mass of policy opportunities to which governments at all levels must respond with urgency.”

NAVA will continue to analyse and apply Making Art Work to our planning and advocacy, and encourages artists to read and respond: