Concern for arts workers after Government’s rescue package
Yesterday’s $250 million arts and entertainment package from the Federal Government was generally greeted with approval by most of the music industry’s major organisations.
But others have expressed some reservations about the fact that it doesn’t address the exclusion of arts workers from the largely-applauded JobKeeper wage subsidy program.
“It ignores the thousands of arts workers who have been without work for months and need immediate income support,” MEAA chief executive officer Paul Murphy said.
“There is absolutely no relief for freelance and casual workers who have lost their jobs… the backbone of the industry.
“We are in danger of losing a generation of creative professionals in this country without an adequate income support scheme.”
Labor’s Arts spokesman, Tony Burke, quipped that if the Government think the package is enough, “at the very least it’s naive”.
“Without re-looking at eligibility for JobKeeper and extending it beyond September, then you simply can’t even guarantee that the required workforce makes it through this period within the same industry,” Burke said.
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, arts spokesperson for the Greens, said there is “no excuse”.
“$250 million, including loans, falls well short of what is needed to save jobs and generate economic stimulus,” Hanson-Young said.
“The industry itself was calling for a package of close to a billion dollars. The Government found $700 million for their HomeBuilder scheme.
“There’s no excuse for giving the arts and entertainment sector, that has been hit hardest by the COVID-19, anything less…
“It seems giving granite benchtops to wealthy homeowners is more important to the PM than saving a generation of Australia’s artists and creatives.”
The live music sector is one of the winners in the Federal Government’s new $250 million Arts and Entertainment Package announced Thursday (June 26).
Live music gets $75 million of capital funding to help production and event businesses put on new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease.
Grants of between $75,000 and $2 million are available from next month.
In addition, $90 million is put aside for “show starter” concessional loans to fund new productions and events that create jobs and stimulate economic activity.
Commonwealth-funded arts organisations get $25 million in funding to start operating again and the film and TV sector gets $50 million to assist local productions via Screen Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said guidelines for JobKeeper will also be expanded to the sectors after many of freelance and contract workers slipped through the cracks.