The Brag Media
News January 19, 2021

APRA AMCOS calls for JobKeeper extension for still-recovering arts sector

APRA AMCOS calls for JobKeeper extension for still-recovering arts sector

APRA AMCOS is lobbying the Federal Government to extend the JobKeeper scheme beyond March in order for the arts sector to continue its recovery.

JobKeeper will end on March 28 after being extended from its initial end date of September 28, albeit with lower subsidy tiers than the original scheme. APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston believes the sector will not be sustainable by that point, considering border rules continue to shift.

“The constant wave of lockdowns and state border closures means that any local live music events and national touring is impossible to plan. Hospitality and tourism dollars generated from our sector remain stifled. We are an industry in crisis,” he said.

“In just two months JobKeeper ends which has been the single most important policy intervention by the Government since the pandemic hit our shores. It has provided some certainty and helped keep a large number of individuals and businesses in the music industry on ice so they are ready to restart with new tours and events.”

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, payroll jobs for the arts and recreation sector are still down by 9% between mid-March and late November. Additionally, former chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy told News Breakfast yesterday he doesn’t think it’s likely Australia will open its borders to international travellers (and musicians) for some time.

“I think we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions. Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said.

Ormston said under these conditions, the live music and event sector will be the last one to restart or get back to anything like “business as usual”.

“JobKeeper must be continued beyond March for those who work directly in the live music and event industry.

“This doesn’t just make cultural sense, it makes economic sense. The arts and entertainment sector contributes around $15 billion per year in GDP and employing close to 200,000 highly-skilled Australians. Australia Institute research has found that for every million dollars in turnover, arts and entertainment produce nine jobs while the construction industry only produces around one job.

“We can’t afford to lose the skills and businesses of our sector. The result for Australia would be catastrophic.”

The Federal Government announced a $250 million package for the sector in June last year, however the majority of it was directed toward grants for large festivals and concerts, concessional loans and insurance for screen productions. Not much was made available for individual arts workers.

“The Australian Government’s response package for arts and entertainment announced in June last year was a welcome intervention. $250 million in grants and loans to stimulate the restart of the live event sector – from theatre to concerts – with the employment of artists and crew at the heart of the package. But a restart can’t happen while state borders keep getting erected and audiences remain limited,” Ormston said.


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