Major boost for Australian writers

The Albanese Labor Government is delivering on its promise to boost how much local authors, writers, illustrators and publishers are paid by modernising Australia’s lending rights scheme.

As part of Revive, the Government’s National Cultural Policy, we are investing $12.9 million to extend the Public and Educational Lending Right Schemes to include digital content, such as e-books and audiobooks.

Arts Minister Tony Burke this week lodged in Parliament the modification to the scheme.

Minister Burke said even though Australian writers were enjoying increasing popularity in Australia and overseas, many still could not make a living from writing.

“The average annual income for an Australian author is only $18,200. That means many either rely on second jobs or their family to make ends meet,” Minister Burke said.

“The modernisation of this scheme will make a difference -  ensuring Australian writers are better paid for their work. In a digital world we need to make sure these schemes are up to date so that our artists are being properly compensated for the incredible creations that enrich all our lives.”

Authors and publishers will be able to make claims for e-books and audiobooks from 3 April 2023. The first payments under the schemes to include digital material will be in June 2024.

The Whitlam Government introduced the world-leading Australian Lending Right Scheme to support Australian creators by providing direct funding to them in recognition of income lost through the free use of their books in public and educational libraries across Australia.

“Lending rights is a great Labor legacy. Every time you borrow a book from a library, some money goes to the author. As it should,” Minister Burke said.

“But under the old system writers weren’t getting a cent when their e-books and audiobooks were borrowed. We’ve updated it so Australian writers can get a better deal and a better future.”

For more information on Revive, visit: