Performers' Collective Agreement

Latest update: February 2024

Live Performance Australia (LPA) continues its support for a fair and generous pay rise for all performers by increasing its pay offer to:

  • a 17.6% increase over three years (4.6% already agreed, took effect on 1 January 2023);
  • an increase to Sunday penalty rates;
  • a further 6% on agreement, 4% on 1 July 2024, and 3% on 1 July 2025; and
  • other improved conditions.

If MEAA accepts LPA’s offer:

  • performers will receive a 10% increase to their minimum pay rate by 1 July 2024.
  • the lowest paid performers will receive at least an extra $116 per week.

LPA’s offer:

  • delivers a weekly increase of at least $116 for the lowest paid performers;
  • is well above the 3% proposed by the MEAA (which only offers an additional $35 per week for the lowest paid performers); and
  • ensures that the lowest paid performers will benefit from the increase and that pay rates increase fairly over time.

LPA and its Members are listening to MEAA

On 16 November 2023, LPA invited MEAA to set a date for the next negotiation meeting. MEAA met with LPA on 5 February 2024, following LPA’s increased wage offer of 17.6%.

We look forward to receiving a prompt response from MEAA so that we can deliver a real and beneficial pay increase and improved working conditions to all performers covered by this agreement as soon as possible.

Resources: What’s on the Table?

The following resources provide a summary of the PCA negotiations and set out LPA’s position:



Update: December 2023

Live Performance Australia (LPA) supports a fair pay rise for all performers. We also recognise the difficulties faced by performers and the producers of theatre in Australia during COVID.

At that time, in 2020, more than 3 years ago, LPA approached the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) with a generous pay offer and request to commence PCA negotiations, but MEAA declined to negotiate with us.

Now in the midst of a cost of living crisis, LPA has offered another generous pay increase which MEAA has not accepted on behalf of their members

Key Facts about the PCA Negotiations

  1.      LPA has offered a more generous pay offer than MEAA has asked for:

LPA has offered:

  • a 15.6% increase over three years (4.6% already agreed, took effect on 1 January 2023)
  • increase to Sunday penalty rates
  • a further 5% on 1 July 2023, 3% on 1 July 2024, and 3% on 1 July 2025

Had MEAA reached an agreement (or responded to LPA in a timely manner) performers could have received a 9.6% pay increase this calendar year, in addition to increases to Sunday rates, wage increases proposed for 2024 and 2025 and other improved conditions.

LPA’s offer:

  • delivers a $60 per week pay increase for performers on the minimum rates of pay and in rehearsal
  • is well above the 3% proposed by the MEAA (which only offers an additional $35 per week for the lowest paid performers), and
  • ensures that the lowest paid performers will benefit from the increase and that pay rates are increased fairly over time

The most recent figures released by the Fair Work Commission and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations show that bargained private sector wages increased by 3.8% over the last year. LPA’s offer is two and a half times that.

  1.      LPA and its members are listening to MEAA

In 2020, LPA approached MEAA to commence negotiations. MEAA refused to negotiate at that time even though they had not sought any pay increase for performers for 5 years.

In June 2022, 2 years after being approached by LPA, MEAA agreed to commence negotiations. LPA and MEAA have had 10 meetings since then.

After several negotiation meetings, LPA provided its full position to MEAA in May 2023, and again in early August 2023, but MEAA did not respond until 26 October 2023.

On 16 November 2023, LPA invited MEAA to set a date for the next negotiation meeting but MEAA has not replied to LPA’s invitation.

We take the health and safety of all workers very seriously. We have made a very reasonable proposal to MEAA on the number of shows per week performers are required to appear in. LPA has agreed to limit 9-show weeks to 6 per year. Currently, there are no restrictions to the number of 9 show weeks in the PCA.

We look forward to resolving the outstanding issues so that we can deliver a real and beneficial pay increase and improved working conditions to all performers covered by this agreement.

Update: November 2023

What is the Performers Collective Agreement?

The Performers Collective Agreement (PCA) is an industry framework agreement that sets out wage rates and conditions of employment for performers in the live performance industry. It is then used by different employers in their individual workplace or productions.

Typically, when a final agreement Is negotiated between Live Performance Australia (LPA), collectively representing employers, and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the agreement is implemented in each workplace or production through agreement between the individual employer and the MEAA.

 How does the PCA compare to the Live Performance Award?

Where there is no PCA in place, performers and other workers are employed under the Live Performance Award 2020 (Award).

Employers can offer higher rates of pay or more generous conditions than those specified in the PCA or the Award, but they cannot provide less than the minimum conditions.

The Fair Work Commission is not permitted to approve a PCA that provides wages and conditions which are inferior to those of the Award.  The PCA provides higher rates of pay and more generous leave conditions than the Award.


There have been six PCAs negotiated between LPA and the MEAA since they were introduced in 1996.

Since 1996, in recognition of the difficulty MEAA would have representing it members across multiple employers, LPA and its members bargain with MEAA, for what is now essentially the multi-enterprise co-operative workplace agreement, introduced by the Government’s recent Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act.

The current PCA was finalised in 2017. The MEAA has not approached LPA for any wage increases under the PCA since 2017.  However, employers in the industry have continued to increase wages over this period. Many employers pay well in excess of PCA minimum rates.

The PCA applies to companies which vary in size from commercial theatre productions to small to medium performing arts companies.

Negotiations for a new PCA

LPA offered to commence negotiations with the MEAA for a new PCA in September 2020. The MEAA declined to commence negotiations on a new agreement at that time.

In July 2021, the MEAA stated (through social media) it was consulting members on a new PCA and released a draft log of claims which had not been discussed nor provided to LPA.

There have been ten meetings to date (November 2023) to discuss the PCA.

Wage offer

LPA has offered a 15.6% pay increase over three years, including a 4.6% increase which took effect from 1 January 2023.

LPA has proposed a further 5% increase from 1 July 2023, followed by an annual increase of 3% in 2024 and 2025.

LPA has also offered an increase to Sunday penalty rates.

This wage offer is for an increased PCA base rate which apply industry wide.

The MEAA is proposing a 9% pay increase, but for this to be applied on top of the ‘margins’ which are negotiated between some performers and their employers.

What are margins?

Margins are the difference between the base rate of pay specified in the PCA and that which is negotiated between an individual performer and the employer.

In effect, they are the equivalent of ‘above award’ or ‘above agreement’ payments which are made over and above the minimum rates specified in the PCA.

The difference between base rates and margins can vary from a few hundred dollars a week to several thousand dollars a week, depending on the performer’s experience and reputation and their ability to negotiate higher rates of pay (usually through their agent).

MEAA’s increase on top of margins would be in dollar amount and not as the full percentage applied to the base rate. For example: under MEAA’s offer the increase for a Grade 1 Performer on 1 July 2023 is $33.99 per week. This means that a performer earning above the base rate would receive an increase of $33.99 per week, whether their weekly rate of pay was $2,000, or $4,000 per week.

LPA does not believe the proposed increases should be applied to margins. Rather, they should apply to the base rates specified in the PCA which mean all performers would receive an equitable increase in pay rates, regardless of their individual margin.