The government is attacking Australian writers, musicians, artists, stories and jobs

The government’s response to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Intellectual Property Arrangements is an attack on the publishing industry and Australian stories. The response has failed to deliver certainty that the future of the industry will be supported.

THE HON TONY BURKE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR WATSON

 

THE HON MARK DREYFUS

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

  

SENATOR THE HON KIM CARR

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INNOVATION, INDUSTRY, SCIENCE AND RESEARCH

SENATOR FOR VICTORIA

 

THE GOVERNMENT IS ATTACKING AUSTRALIAN WRITERS, MUSICIANS, ARTISTS, STORIES AND JOBS

The government’s response to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Intellectual Property Arrangements is an attack on the publishing industry and Australian stories. The response has failed to deliver certainty that the future of the industry will be supported.

In particular, the government’s in-principle support of repealing parallel importation restrictions that protect the Australian publishing industry and the ability to tell Australian stories will put the industry in peril. 

The Australian book publishing industry has survived digital disruption to become the 14th largest publishing industry in the world. Producing more than 7,000 titles annually, this industry generates $2 billion in revenue and directly employs more than 4,000 people. The Australian publishing industry has thrived despite the advent of online shopping and provides consumers with locally produced products they are willing to buy. These changes are an attack on this industry.

In December last year Labor made it clear that we stand with writers and with printers and reject any changes to the parallel importation rules. We know from the New Zealand example that removal of parallel importation restrictions does not work.

Labor calls on the government to rule out these damaging changes.

The government has also offered in-principle support for the expansion of the safe harbour scheme and failed to rule out the recommendation that proposes to allow so-called fair use exemptions from copyright protections.

The case for fair use has not been proved. It could make it easier for multinational internet corporations to obtain Australian content without properly compensating Australian writers, publishers, artists and musicians. However, Labor notes the position put forward by educational institutions and libraries. The government has been sitting on its hands while it should have been working with all stakeholders to deliver certainty.

It is only by putting artists at the centre of policy and policy development that we can effectively support this vital sector.

It has taken the Liberal government over two years to respond to the Productivity Commission report, and all they have done is introduce further uncertainty in the sector.

A thriving arts sector is also important to our economy. Growing our arts and creative industries generates jobs and keeps young and innovative Australians here at home contributing to our economy. 

SATURDAY, 26 AUGUST 2017