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Jenny Morris, APRA Chair reflects on our advocacy commitment

Story Published Thursday 20 October 2022

Video transcript

I’m coming to you from Gadigal land, the land of the Eora Nation where First Nations people have been creating and passing on their music, their rich culture for eons. I pay my respects to those people and I thank them. I would also like to acknowledge Maori as tangata whenua and pay tribute to their vast cultural legacy, one that keeps growing stronger and deeper with time.

Over the last few years as Chair of APRA, I have spoken to so many of you around Australia, New Zealand, and to our music creators around the world.

Whether your livelihoods are in live music, touring, screen or games whether you write across genres, the last twelve months have been a whirlwind of uncertainty but also of creativity.

No matter what stage of your career, the pandemic has changed all our lives.

The release of APRA AMCOS’ Year in Review is a moment to take stock – to acknowledge the successes and the wins - but to also sharpen our focus on what we need to do next.

The business of music is tougher than ever.

Being visible is tougher than ever.

Being a woman or from a diverse background in music can feel like an impediment.

It’s been obvious for a while now but it’s time for things to change.

No matter our background, our genre or location, we, the members are the number one priority for APRA AMCOS.

We know that for our industry to be truly successful and recognised for the enormous contribution it makes to the cultural, the social and the economic fabric of the nation, everyone must have a voice and be heard.

I’m incredibly proud to be the Chair of APRA. To be leading an organisation that is leading change in our industry.

Hopefully you read Raising Their Voices, the Music Industry Review report into sexual harm, sexual harassment, and systemic discrimination.

To be clear: there is no place for any form of discrimination, bullying, vilification, sexual harassment, or sexual harm in our workplaces, in our industry and in our society.

The report gives a serious directive to establish a new, iron clad framework for change.

APRA AMCOS has authored a Statement of Expectation that has been signed by the Boards and Ambassadors – it’s about making clear, expectations and accountability.

This is where we start, and I‘m hopeful we can affect real change.

I’d like to acknowledge that while the report is Australian based, our work always involves our ‘whanau’ in New Zealand.

We have a deep connection with tangata whenua in New Zealand. Through Dame Hinewehi Mohi and the establishment of Soundcheck Aotearoa, great progress is being made to address critical elements of safety, equity, and inclusion – displaying a ‘best practice’ for the music community working together.

Thank you for your continued work in the space.

There is also a big opportunity to be had with a new federal government in Australia.

We need a whole of government approach that recognises our industry’s true impact.

We need a partner in government that invests in the future of our industry, ensuring domestic and global success.

We need a sustainable industry where creators and industry workers must be recognised and paid properly for their work.

We call for a new national music development agency – a Music Australia – with serious annual investment for artists, First Nations music creators, the wider industry and to take our sounds to the world.

We have submitted to the National Cultural Policy Review a vision, and strategies on creating sustainable careers for all in the contemporary music industry.

These opportunities exist in New Zealand as well. The world is thirsty for authentic voices and with the right support, music from our part of the Pacific, will find an audience on the global stage.

I’ll finish with this…

We learned from the pandemic that our industry is tenuous.

We know that MUSIC IS CRUCIAL to our wellbeing and to our national identities in Australia and New Zealand.

That deserves to be formally recognised.

Be well and keep the creative flags flying high.