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Social sustainability

One of our favourite short definitions of sustainability is ‘intergenerational equity’. This means that future generations are not disadvantaged socially, environmentally or economically by the actions of current ones. It’s clear that if we pollute the earth and leave future generations to sort it out, that’s not equitable. So, a sustainable environment is one that is healthy and will endure to provide ecosystem services to future generations.

What’s a sustainable society, then? There are lots of definitions (Google that question!) but simply put, a sustainable society is physically and culturally healthy, and lives within its resources so as not to disadvantage future societies.

As a performing arts membership organisation, The Blue Room Theatre is certainly doing its bit to nurture artists and practitioners who contribute to our society’s sense of itself. But often our members – theatre makers, dancers, comedians, puppeteers – struggle to make a living wage. They support their practice with part time jobs in hospitality, education, and the like. The Blue Room Theatre’s bar and front-of-house staff are drawn from the industry, and we maintain membership of the relevant industry bodies, and ensure we pay award rates or above.

We’re also committed to the future wellbeing of our employees. We’re aware that our casual staff may have other jobs, but might not accrue enough earnings per job in a calendar month to have superannuation paid on their behalf. So one of our early sustainability initiatives was to waive the threshold for superannuation, so all earnings attract super.

Did you know that employers are also obliged to pay superannuation for contractors?

As part of our industry advocacy we remind producers when we are providing financial services as an auspicing body that they should budget for superannuation payments for contractors as well as for employees. If you as a practitioner use an ABN and invoice for your services, keep a note of your superannuation fund membership handy (in your phone, perhaps, along with your tax file number) – or better still, include it on your invoice template. You may need to supply further details such as your current address, and date of birth, so that employers can identify you when they’re remitting super on your behalf.

Next time: Procurement. What?

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