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News February 2, 2021

Call for NSW venues bailout after PM digs in on JobKeeper

Senior Journalist, B2B
Call for NSW venues bailout after PM digs in on JobKeeper
The Enmore Theatre, Sydney

After Prime Minister Scott Morrison seemingly slammed the door shut on any further JobKeeper extension, NSW Labor again called on the NSW State Berejikilian Government to help the state’s music venues stay afloat.

Opposition spokesperson for music and the night time economy, John Graham, pointed out:“The deadline for the Government to assist music venues or risk losing them forever is fast approaching.

“We know that it’s much easier to save an existing music venue than to try and build an entirely new one.

“Unless the Government steps up and provides the essential financial assistance that the industry has been calling for since day one we risk losing the cultural lifeblood of our city and state.”

He added: “Victoria and South Australia were quick to realise what is at stake and financially support music venues, the NSW government needs to get on the same page.”

Graham’s call came just as the Live Music Office (LMO) general manager, John Wardle, was tendering statistics at the current NSW parliament inquiry into the integrity, efficacy and value for money of NSW Government grant programs.

The LMO argued in its submission that for NSW to match Victoria’s funding for contemporary music per capita, it would require an expenditure of at least $35 million over the four years of forward estimates.

Wardle told parliament yesterday that NSW venues urgently needed COVID funding, and suggested a centralised music office that coordinates contemporary music funding and strategy across agencies.

Testimony during the inquiry showed why venues and the music and arts industry, have little faith in the grants process.

These included the bureaucratic nature, and the perception that assessment panels did not include enough of their peers.

Questions about age and gender discouraged applications from women and older musicians as the music industry was seen as a youthful male-orientated industry.

The inquiry also pressed hard yesterday on why the Government committed $20 million to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga without a business case or formal assessment, but seemingly at the whim of the premier.


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