exclusive July 17, 2020

Aussie promoters demand answers after radio silence from Govt

Managing Editor
Aussie promoters demand answers after radio silence from Govt

Multiple Australian concert promoters tell TMN the Morrison Government has not yet shared any details on how to access the $250 million arts and entertainment package.

Three weeks have passed since the Prime Minister announced the funding, which included $75 million to help put on new festivals, concerts, tours and events.

Scott Morrison approved grants ranging from $75,000 to $2 million to be available from July, but the PM is yet to come good on that promise and promoters say “the clock is ticking”.

“The bottom line is they need to get [the details] out there and give us some clarity,” Michael Chugg told TMN. “We need to know what the parameters are. Until then, we can’t move forward.”

Bluesfest boss Peter Noble says he’s asked Live Performance Australia for the particulars on how to apply for the loans and the grants and offer, but “nobody seems to know the details”.

As part of the package, $90 million is put aside for “show starter” concessional loans to fund new productions and events that create jobs and stimulate economic activity.

“One would think that for something that is so crucial, so critical, so fundamental to our industry that the details of it would have been released in a timely manner,” Noble told TMN.

“I’ve worked with political parties long enough to know that all governments have the interests of the people at their core, I would like to believe that. But in the end, we need action.

“The airline industry is worth $17.8 billion. Look at how quickly they got addressed and they got money, even though that money’s run out and they stopped flying again in many places.

“We are bigger than sport and bigger than mining. And yet there’s been a package announce that we don’t have the details on. And that’s something that our leaders should be questioned about.”

Talking to this writer on Inside Entertainment last week, ARIA boss Dan Rosen said the package was largely welcomed by the music industry and demonstrates that Canberra is listening.

“It’s a massive recognition that our industry is important and that our industry matters, and that’s not just on a cultural basis, but on an economic basis,” Rosen said.

“We’re still waiting for the details about how the $75 million grant program and $90 million in underwritten loans will be allocated, but certainly I think the majority of people welcomed it.”

Labor’s arts spokesman, Tony Burke, said on Thursday (July 16) that the lack of any eligibility criteria, guidelines, or application forms is “beyond a joke” in a statement.

“Australia’s arts and entertainment sector workers deserve better than this,” he said. “How many more days will they have to wait to get the support they were promised?”