Labor has promised to invest $28 million in the music industry if it is elected to government in 2019. The substantial pledge is at the centre of the party’s new contemporary music policy, unveiled on Friday by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for the Arts Tony Burke. It comes just two weeks after a New South Wales parliamentary committee found that live music in NSW was in “crisis”, recommending that the state government alone spend at least $35 million to address the issue over the next four years.

“Australia is a better country when we back our arts, when we back our culture, when we back our music,” Shorten said on Friday when introducing the policy.

“Labor has chosen to back live music today because we want to give people something to look forward to, we want to have a vision of Australia which is proud,” he added. “You can either write Australia small, or you can write Australia big – as our songwriters do, as our musicians do… What I feel out of today is a renewed conviction to write Australia big.”

Dubbed Soundtrack Australia, Labor’s newly announced policy promises...