‘The music industry wants answers’: Peking Duk hits out at Federal Government’s bungled COVID plan
Aussie music duo Peking Duk have hit out at the Federal Government’s bungled COVID-19 vaccine rollout and its four-stage recovery plan, noting the alarmingly slow rate of action is having dire consequences for the arts.
The band is scheduled to play a show in Sydney’s Domain on Saturday July 10, however uncertainty remains as to whether the city will emerge from its lockdown as planned over the weekend, and even what rules will be in place for the rest of the year.
Previous lockdowns and safety measures made sense, the band said, because they were necessary to protect the vulnerable and deal with an unprecedented situation. Now, however, the band contends the Government has had time to deal with the precedent, and should not be going around in the same circles as last year.
The country is falling behind, they said.
“16 months ago we locked down, it made sense – why overrun the hospitals if it was avoidable? 12 months ago, we locked down, it made sense – we need to protect our loved ones, we need to protect those that are the highest risk of COVID-19. In December 2020, seven months ago – we locked down. This made sense because again it had not been enough time to vaccinate the vulnerable and safeguard those who are at risk,” they said.
“Now, in July 2021, with Australia firmly the worst-performing country in the OECD for fully-vaccinated adults, the music industry is facing more uncertainty, more cancellations, more postponements. America can have events, because 45% of their population is vaccinated. Australia, with around 7% filly vaccinated, cannot.”
The band is now at a loss as to what to do with its upcoming shows, as the road to recovery remains plagued with potential roadblocks.
“We are left scratching our heads. Should we postpone our shows to the end of the year? Should we postpone them to next year? Will things even return to normal next year with this snail-paced vaccine rollout and ever-evolving strains of the virus?”
Peking Duk also noted the relative freedoms and fortunes which had been afforded to sport – something the TMN Talks podcast touched on last week – compared to the arts and entertainment sector.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. Sport seems to be doing well – thousands of people were at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, while music venues in Melbourne (with zero COVID cases) were left with no dancing policies and operating at hugely reduced capacities,” they said.
“When will live music be afforded the same luxury as other events? When will we get the green light from the Government so that we can tell our crew who have been out of work since March 2020 that they can return to some form of normality?”
The industry is at dire risk of losing immeasurable talent if it doesn’t receive answers soon, they warned.
“The music industry wants answers. The entertainment industry needs answers. Or unfortunately, more and more very talented musicians, very talented lighting designers, very talented sound engineers to say the least will get tired of the uncertainty, they will move on to more secure jobs and the music industry might not eve be the same again.”
All of this responsibility, and all of these answers, need to come from the Federal Government, with the band placing the blame firmly on Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his team who got it “horribly wrong”.
“We thought, surely, surely the Federal Government will get this right. Well, no, they got it so horribly wrong and with their terrible planning, terrible rollout, it brought more border closures, more lockdowns, and less and less events, music festivals and a huge amount of uncertainty to the industry we love,” they said.
“Scott Morrison has a four-part plan, but there are no dates. There are still no answers. Just another piece of his marketing puzzle, so that when people ask what the plan ism he can say ‘Oh, well we have one… it’s four parts.”
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