New Australian body to protect creative workers from harassment

Canberra, Jan. 30 (FN Bureau) The Australian government has committed to creating a new body to crack down on harassment in the arts. Tony Burke, the minister for the arts, recently announced the government will establish the Center for Arts Workplaces to receive reports of harassment, bullying and mistreatment in the creative industries. The body, which will exist as a subsidiary of the Australia Council for the Arts, will have the power to recommend that the government stop funding companies that do not meet minimum standards. It will also provide advice on standards of pay, safety and welfare in the industry and develop codes of conduct.

“All Australian artists and arts workers have the right to safe and fair workplaces,” Burke was quoted by Nine Entertainment newspapers on Sunday.” That doesn’t just mean physically safe workplaces. It also means a work environment that’s free from harassment and bullying. “The establishment of the new center is part of the federal government’s five-year plan to overhaul the arts and culture policy, which will be released in full on Monday. It comes after a series of high-profile harassment scandals in the art sector.Sony and Universal — two of Australia’s largest music labels — have launched internal investigations in recent years in response to allegations of workplace harassment.According to a survey undertaken by researchers at Swinburne University, 15 percent of workers in the music industry said they feel safe at work all the time.