16.05.2019

Breaking down the arts and climate change policies before Election Day 2019

By Kate Streader

Read up before you queue up.

The importance of the impending federal election is not lost on Australians, it appears, with enrolment rates reaching new records in figures released on Tuesday April 23. These reports document an 88.7 per cent enrolment rate for young Australians and 96.8 per cent across all age groups.

This election is contingent on climate change policies which have seen the Morrison Government shuffling towards earth-friendly initiatives in order to remain in power. With a surge in political interest from young people, policies surrounding the future of the planet and the country’s creative industries hold considerable weight. Here’s a rundown of what the major parties are proposing on both these fronts to help you when you hit the polling booth on Saturday May 18.

Australian Labor Party

The Arts

On Saturday May 11, the ALP announced its Renewing Creative Australia arts and cultural policy, building upon the Gillard Labor Government’s 2013 Creative Australia policy. Renewing Creative Australia outlines funding for First Nations performing and visual arts, mental health initiatives for creatives and a reversal of the Liberals’ budget cuts to the ABC. However, it’s been argued elements of the policy appear to band-aid issues within the arts industry rather than addressing the underlying issues.

A Shorten government would look to support First Nations theatre and dance companies, injecting $3 million into state-based organisations. The ALP will also launch a new Indigenous Theatre Company with an initial investment of $8 million over four years and ongoing funding of $5 million per year. Labor also wants to invest $85 million in a new Aboriginal Art and Culture gallery, in addition to launching a new grants program for Indigenous musicians.

As for live music, Labor’s policy includes $20 million for an Australian Live Music Fund which will support live music venues and musicians, $10 million to support Sounds Australia in bolstering international interest in Australian music and $2.1 million to the Australian Independent Record Labels Association to provide mentoring programs for female musicians.

Labor also look to invest in mental health projects for musicians by providing $5 million over five years to Support Act. While Labor plans to support Australian screen content through providing $40 million to the ABC and $20 million to SBS, the party has been criticised for not introducing quotas to ensure there’s a space for local content in as viewers look toward international streaming platforms.

Climate Change

While Labor has devised a comprehensive policy around climate change, the Morrison Government has raised concerns about the ALP’s apparent lack of consideration for how their proposals will affect the economy.

Bill Shorten’s approach to quashing climate change includes tax reforms that help reach the emissions reduction target of 45 per cent by 2030. Shorten has also proposed 50 per cent of the nation’s electricity is sourced from renewable energy by 2050.

Despite offering vastly more optimistic figures than the Coalition in terms of lowering emissions and transitioning towards renewables, the Labor party has refused to give a definitive answer on whether or not it will stop the proposed Adani mine, a highly controversial project which threatens the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

Labor also wants to force 250 of the nation’s key polluters to cap their carbon emissions while ruling out the possibility of contributing ‘carry-over carbon credits’ from the Kyoto Protocol towards the Paris Agreement – something the Coalition will do in order to reach their emissions target. This means that the Coalition will count carbon credits from exceeding its targets under the Kyoto Protocol – which is soon to become obsolete – towards the Paris Agreement. Simply put, this loophole will allow the Coalition to technically meet their emissions target through a reduction of 15 per cent rather than the “inadequate” 28 per cent outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Labor is also looking towards transport when considering cutting down emissions. The party aims for 50 per cent of all new cars sold by 2030 to be electric vehicles. A Shorten Government would offer tax deductions for businesses buying electric cars in order to meet this goal.

Check out the ALP’s full list of policies here.

Liberal Party of Australia

The Arts

The Coalition is yet to formally release an arts policy document. However, other policy documents have proposed $10.5 million for Sovereign Hill, $1.5 million for Tasmania’s MONA and a $22.5 million Live Music Australia Grant program.

Climate Change

Considering the push for stronger climate change initiatives, particularly from young Australians, the man who loves coal so much he once brought a lump of it into the House of Representatives has devised several policies around tackling climate change. This includes a promise to allocate $2 billion to the Climate Solutions Fund. The fund is aimed at helping farmers, small businesses and Indigenous communities reduce emissions in order to meet the Paris Agreement commitment of a 28 per cent reduction by 2030.

The Liberal Party’s policies surrounding environmental issues also include plans to expand Australia’s renewable hydro resources with Snowy 2.0 — the world’s second-largest high tech pumped hydropower station. The party is also proposing solar energy access grants for community organisations to access renewable power. While they have dedicated $15 million towards renewables, the Coalition hasn’t promised to phase out coal completely.

With other countries refusing to take Australia’s recyclables, it is up to the Australian Government to strengthen our domestic recycling industry. Scott Morrison’s government aims to implement a $167 million Australian Recycling Investment plan which looks to halve food waste by 2030 as well as focus on plastic waste and litter.

Check out the Liberal Party’s policies here.

The Greens

The Arts

The Greens have addressed five key areas in their arts policy, including aims to commission a Living Arts Fund to provide financial support to participating artists. To receive financial support, artists must allow the fund a small share in their creative works.

The Greens will also invest $10 million each year in a Creativity Commission which will help Australia transition from its current STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) line of thinking to include the arts in order to build the creative economy.

The Greens are also committed to increasing Australian content quotas in order to ensure there is always a market for local creative content. They also want to establish a Content Creator Fund of $50 million per year to support local content and those who create it, $2 million of which will be dedicated to First Nations content creation.

The party will also create programs to bring working artists into classrooms and invest in Australia’s video game industry.

Climate Change

The Greens offer an aggressive approach to climate change, promising to phase out coal by 2030 while transitioning towards 100 per cent renewable energy. The party also looks to prioritise clean and affordable public transport, safe and efficient walking and cycling options and electric vehicles for personal transport.

Not only are The Greens dedicated to phasing out coal completely, but their Renew Australia plan also proposes to boost the economy by investing in renewables projects and creating tens of thousands of jobs in the process. The party has been clear in its mission to support workers through the transition from coal to renewables.

The Greens’ electric car initiative looks at ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 to ensure all new vehicles are electric or zero emission. In order to make this target a reality, the party will reduce the cost of electric vehicles by up to 20 per cent and require major car manufacturers to meet an electric vehicle sales quota each year.

The party also aims to ban all new coal seam gas and fracking projects, introduce initiatives to protect oceans, forests, rivers and reefs and provide incentives for individuals to recycle.

Check out The Greens’ policies here.

Voting for the federal election will take place Australia wide on Saturday May 18. For more information, head to the Australian Electoral Commission website. For tips on where to get a sausage, head here.