Former sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins will lead up a new body to protect arts and culture workers.

Ms Jenkins, who authored the Respect@Work report into sexual harassment, has been appointed chair of the Creative Workplaces Council.

As part of the government’s culture policy it introduced earlier this year – and in response to a report that found an “unacceptable” presence of sexual harassment in the industry – Ms Jenkins and six other council members will oversee the Creative Workplaces, which will provide advice on safety, welfare and pay issues in the arts and entertainment sector.

Arts Minister Tony Burke said the advent of Creative Workplaces will mean all arts organisations will be expected to adhere to minimum workplace safety and employment standards.

“Australian artists and creatives aren’t hobbyists, they’re workers. They deserve safe and fair workplaces like every other worker,” Mr Burke said.

He said there was no one “better suited” to chairing the council than Ms Jenkins.

“She brings a wealth of experience and undeniable authority to Creative Workplaces, and I’m certain her leadership will result in tangible improvements for Australian artists and arts workers.”

Ms Jenkins said her announcement coincided with the approaching anniversary of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein breaking.

“(That story) generated a global conversation about the experiences of workers in the arts, media and entertainment industries worldwide,” she said.

“In Australia, arts workers in every industry had their own stories to tell. Their experiences and the unacceptable risks they faced at work have been heard in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s national surveys on workplace sexual harassment, the national music industry review, Raising Their Voices, and review into the cinematography industry, A Wider Lens.

“I look forward to working with our expert group of council members, Creative Australia and Australia’s arts sector and will have more to share about our plans and priorities soon.”

Ms Jenkins’ 2020 national inquiry on workplace sexual harassment found industry-tailored initiatives would be more effective to prevent and respond to unacceptable conduct.


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By Rahul

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