Australian and New Zealand cultural ministers, meeting in Alice Springs today, called for Australia-wide support to build a stronger Indigenous contemporary music sector.

9 October 2008

The Ministers adopted a national pilot initiative and released an Indigenous Contemporary Music Action Plan to encourage all levels of government to assist the sector to help it achieve its full potential.

"The Cultural Ministers Council has endorsed a plan to focus support for Indigenous musicians and producers across Australia in urban, regional and remote areas," Northern Territory Deputy Chief Minister and current Chair of CMC, Marion Scrymgour said.

"What we want to see is greater exposure for the talent and creativity of Indigenous musicians and more coordinated and focused support to assist them to produce and record quality music and generate more income, in a more sustainable way."

Federal Arts Minister Peter Garrett said Indigenous contemporary music was making its mark on Australian and international stages and enriching Australia's music culture.

"We want to build on that success by encouraging closer links between emerging Indigenous musicians and the commercial music industry and by supporting more touring, recording and promotion of Indigenous contemporary music talent," Peter Garrett said.

The Cultural Ministers Council will fund a targeted $78,000 national pilot initiative in 2008–09 to raise the quality of music recording by improving access to recording facilities, with the aim of increasing national and international audiences for Indigenous contemporary music.

"This initiative recognises that being able to produce high quality recordings suitable for broadcast is a key to success for many Indigenous contemporary musicians," Peter Garrett said.

The national pilot initiative will support access by three emerging musicians or musical groups in remote and regional/urban Australia, to top-level producers and production facilities. This collaboration will facilitate the production of high-quality recordings of the musicians' work.

The initiative supports a limited number of performers to achieve very high-quality results as a model for what can be achieved.

The national pilot initiative is underpinned by the Indigenous Contemporary Music Action Plan released by the Cultural Ministers Council today, which encourages all levels of government to support the Indigenous contemporary music sector through a number of initiatives, including those which will:

  • Increase audiences by developing international and domestic touring circuits, and greater broadcasting and online exposure
  • Improve income generation and sustainability in the sector by encouraging mentoring and music business management training.
  • Strengthen existing Indigenous contemporary music networks and organisations
  • Improve Indigenous contemporary music sector access to facilities and equipment
  • Enhance opportunities for Indigenous musicians in schools, and 
  • Broaden philanthropic support for the Indigenous contemporary music sector.

The Indigenous Contemporary Music Action Plan has been developed by the Contemporary Music Development Working Group of the Cultural Ministers Council.