Tuesday, 12 February 2019
We don't often think about music in this place, yet, outside these walls, people's days are filled with music as they go to work, go about their work, go out to relax or head home. Hopefully, there's a heavy dose of Australian music in that mix. The Australian music industry contributes nearly $6 billion to our economy. The live music industry alone supports around 64,000 jobs in Australia. I have to confess that my son is one of those people who works as a professional musician. Given the amount of time we spend here talking about sport, people might be surprised to know that Australians attend live music more often than they attend sport. It's a thriving industry and one that governments should provide smart, modest support to, to help the industry grow, just like we should for other important industries like manufacturing or agriculture.
There has been nothing from this Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government that indicates even the slightest interest in the music industry. At a New South Wales government level, I've been disappointed at the unwillingness of the Liberals to listen to expert advice on harm minimisation that could not only save lives but also save music festivals, to the point we're at now where Byron Bay Bluesfest, among others, is starting to look outside the state. While there is much that can be done at a state level, we're concerned about what a federal government can do to support the growth of an industry. It's Labor who will deliver the most comprehensive music policy of any Australian government if we are elected. We want to see more Australians making music, listening to it and seeing it performed, because not only does that strengthen our own culture and show the world who we are but it also leads to more Australians having stable jobs in a thriving industry. The plus of the digitally connected world is that Australian music can be heard anywhere, but getting to places to perform it live and to be known is still expensive.
Labor will provide an additional $10 million to Sounds Australia to help showcase Australia's music talent in not just the US and Europe but also emerging markets like South America and Asia. We'll also get Sounds Australia to keep working with state and local governments to reduce the barriers to live performance at home. Under Labor, the APRA SongMakers program will get a $7.6 million boost so music teachers can do more work in schools but also in new music hubs, which will be refurbished places like community centres, to provide soundproof music studios. What used to happen in parents' garages—not always loved by the neighbours—can be more difficult these days. It's hard to make music if you don't have a space to do it in. We'll also better recognise music teachers' vital role through an expansion of the current ARIA Music Teacher Awards. Labor appreciate that music managers play a key role in the industry and in supporting artists, so we'll fund them to train new and emerging managers.
The stories that musicians and managers have shared with me as part of the current parliamentary inquiry into the sustainability of the music industry, which is still underway, and the stories that I've heard from my own children and their musician friends, highlight for me the challenges of working in an industry where a full-time pay-as-you-go job is pretty much non-existent and the financial side is a challenge. We will provide extra funding to Support Act, which is a charity providing financial support and a really valuable mental health service for musicians and people in the industry.
Also working in my electorate is the Nordoff Robbins charity, a music therapy provider which takes music into aged-care homes, including in the Blue Mountains, and provides one-on-one, group and music therapy sessions for kids and adults of all abilities. Additional funding for Nordoff Robbins will give more people access to their life-changing therapy.
There's a range of other initiatives that we'll bring in, including a ban on the use of automated bots to buy tickets, limits on how much scalpers can charge, a commitment to protect copyright—really the basis of a musician's life, especially composers—and restoration of $83.7 million to the ABC over three years to help stabilise a public broadcaster that does so much to promote and play Australian music. Venues, cafes, pubs, clubs, universities, concert halls and even stadiums will benefit from our immediate 20 per cent tax deduction in the first year on the value of a new asset worth more than $20,000. This is a whole range of strategies to help keep the music industry not just surviving but growing. As someone who's electorate is home to many people who earn their living from the music industry, I know that this sector, overlooked for the last five years, can do great things with a little bit of help. Only Labor will deliver a policy that supports the growth of the Australian music industry.
In my first speech to this place 2½ years ago, I spoke about the belief that we needed to do something different in the way that we deliver mental health services. There's been a lot of words spoken in this chamber since then by many people, but the reality remains that the gaps in how we prevent mental illness, treat it, support those with episodic or chronic mental ill health and their families are still too great—and we all know it. The level of mental ill health amongst young people is still a huge concern, despite the best efforts of people working in the sector. With half of mental disorders presenting in people before the age of 14 and 75 per cent before the age of 25, targeting children and young people is critical. For families in the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains there is no dedicated paediatric service, not even at the nearby Nepean Hospital—nowhere for children under 16 to be treated close to home.
Sadly, suicide remains the leading cause of death of young people. I have conversations every single day about mental health with people who live in my electorate. I remain concerned that we still have a hospital-centric and fragmented approach to mental illness. We haven't invested enough in alternatives to hospitalisation, which leaves the mental health teams focusing on providing care to people only once they are extremely unwell. That is why, when Labor was last in office, I was so pleased to be involved in the opening of the first headspace for our region, in Penrith. In May 2013, I joined then minister for mental health, Mark Butler, in opening a site that was the first step in providing a no-wrong-door approach for young people concerned about their mental health. When Labor was in government we invested around $200 million over five years and we expanded the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre services that are delivered by headspace. During the 2016 election, Labor committed to keeping open headspaces in current locations as well as establishing new ones. We remain committed to a headspace model and to expanding their reach.
A headspace in Penrith isn't enough to reach all the young people in the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury. So I'm very pleased to see that, after years of the community asking for this, Parramatta Mission, who manages headspace, is providing a youth outreach mental health service. This program will be welcomed by people in the Hawkesbury, like Stephen Lillie, from the Hawkesbury District Health Service, and Megan Ang, from the Hawkesbury council, who were involved in the roundtables I held early in my term and have continued to advocate and connect service providers.
The YES Program is for 12- to 25-year-olds who have or are at risk of developing a serious mental illness. It's designed to focus on young people who fall between the current criteria for headspace and the other criteria for New South Wales state mental health services. That gap is wide. It's early intervention that involves family and carer support services and continual engagement with the young person's GP, such a vital piece of the mental health puzzle. It is working with psychologists, social workers and mental health nurses—who, personally, I think are some of the heroes of our mental health system—and peer support coaches, who have lived experience of mental health. A young person can refer themselves directly to YES, as can family and friends, GPs and school counsellors, and I'd encourage young people and their families to reach out. When a young person is experiencing mental ill-health and they're attempting to seek help, there is a small window to intervene and help them and their loved ones.
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 17 : 30 to 18:30
For the information of members, the time allowed under the standing orders for the grievance debate expired at 6.02 pm. Accordingly, the debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.
Federation Chamber adjourned at 18:30