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News July 23, 2020

Australia’s small businesses face ‘widespread collapse’ despite JobKeeper extension, industry council warns

Senior Journalist, B2B
Australia’s small businesses face ‘widespread collapse’ despite JobKeeper extension, industry council warns

The extension of JobKeeper is a welcome lifeline for industries across the nation, but the prospect of a death-plunge for small, live music businesses remains a very real one.

That’s the harsh reality, explains the newly-formed Australian Live Music Business Council (ALMBC).

With Melbourne returning to lockdown and hotspots bubbling up in Sydney, the Morrison Government announced Tuesday (July 21) that the JobKeeper wage subsidy would be continue for another six months, until March 2021.

Right now, explains federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg, JobKeeper is supporting around 3.5 million workers and over 960,000 businesses in what has been described by the leadership as the “single largest economic measure” this country has ever seen.

The council on Wednesday (July 22) joined a chorus of music industry advocates and peak bodies in welcoming the extension.

It’s not all great news.

The future isn’t so rosy for Australia’s once thriving live entertainment space, warns ALMBC.

“With live music still off the cards for some time in Australia’s most populous states and no realistic roadmap for prospective international touring,” reads a statement issued Wednesday, “the live music sector is facing the prospect of widespread collapse.”

The council launched July 2 in Canberra, as a “collective voice for small businesses” and to “advocate on behalf of the ‘backstage’ voices” in the live music ecosystem.

Now, with more than 300 members on board, the ALMBC is focusing its efforts on quantifying “how widespread the collapse will be amongst its member base and what the knock-on impacts will be for the broader Australian music industry if the micro sector is wiped out.”

Without JobKeeper, life in live would be much more challenging. Live Performance Australia and the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) applauded the government’s extension.

“Our arts and entertainment sector faces a long road back from COVID-19,” LPA tweeted. “Extending #JobKeeper will be an important support for our creative sector until we can reopen and bring back our live audiences.”

JobKeeper has “played a critical role in keeping thousands of people in the live entertainment and sport industries employed,” adds James Sutherland, chair of LEIF, which assembled last month with a mission to reactivate COVIDSafe concerts, sports and shows across Australia.

“Its extension gives us some clarity to plan ahead and breathing space to work on industry specific initiatives that tackle the unique challenges our sector faces.”

For more information visit the ATO.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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