Government pledges much needed $27M boost to arts sector [updated]
Support Act is doing important work during the health crisis, providing financial support and counselling to artists and crew who are struggling through unprecedented times.
The Government has allocated $10 million to Support Act, to enable it to continue its vital work across the arts sector, in addition to the JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes.
Support Act CEO Clive Miller is now urging the industry to register for the financial aid.
“We applaud the Government for the assistance packages they have already provided – the JobSeeker and JobKeeper benefits will go a long way to providing a safety net for the majority of people in the music industry affected by the COVID-19 crisis and we encourage all eligible artists, crew and music workers to register for these benefits asap.”
The funding will enable Support Act to provide crisis relief to artists, crew and music workers who have lost their jobs and income as a result of COVID-19, and to upscale and extend access to the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline to all members of the arts industry.
“This additional funding from the Government will enable us to ensure that Support Act can provide short term financial support to those artists, crew and music workers who fall through the cracks for any reason and are unable to access government benefits; and those who are injured, unwell or have a mental health issue that is preventing them from being able to work.”
Miller spoke with TMN editor Jake Challenor moments after the Government’s announcement:
The Government is also providing $10m to help regional artists and organisations through Regional Arts Australia’s Regional Arts Fund.
To support Indigenous artists and arts centres, the Morrison Government is providing $7m in additional funding to the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program.
In announcing the package, arts minister Paul Fletcher acknowledged the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus on the live performance industry.
“The charity Support Act will receive funding to immediately bolster its incredible work providing crisis relief to artists, crew and arts workers across the arts sector who have been affected by cancellation of gigs and performances across the country,” he said.
“We have chosen to back Support Act, and I hope that others consider contributing to this worthy cause too – if they are able – to help extend the important work it does even further.
Federal arts minister, Paul Fletcher.
ARIA, APRA AMCOS and Live Performance Australia have also welcomed today’s announcement, with LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson adding that more assistance will be needed.
“Our industry will need much, much more in the form of direct assistance from all levels of government if we are to have a live performance industry of any scale following the pandemic.”
“Restrictions on public gatherings were important to slow the spread of the virus, but they stopped our industry dead in its tracks.
“Governments still haven’t come to grips with the scale of the devastation that has been wreaked across our world-class $4 billion live performance industry. We were the first impacted and will be the last to come out. We stand ready to work with government now and during the recovery. Additional targeted measures are urgently required and a ‘bounce back’ plan is going to be vital.”
Richardson also said the economic and jobs toll on the live performance industry was growing by the day, with hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket revenue sacrificed due to the cancellation of events and closure of venues.
“Much more must be done, and time is running out,” she said.