Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison today (Wednesday 18 March) announced a ban on all non-essential gatherings indoors over 100 people. Non-essential gatherings outdoors are limited to under 500. Most of our industry is effectively closed for business.
In the face of this unprecedented situation, our peak bodies are lobbying government for financial relief. Yesterday, Live Performance Australia, Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG), and others met with Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts.
“That was a useful opportunity for representatives from across the industry to tell the Minister how they were being impacted by the shutdown of events and venues due to coronavirus,” said LPA’s Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson. “But what we really need from Government right now is a plan of action, backed up by significant funding to support the thousands of people who are losing work across our industry.”
“Australia’s $4 billion live performance industry is on the brink of collapse without immediate government support,” Ms Richardson said. “Realistically, we’re looking at a 3-6 month closure period at least before any recovery phase. In this scenario we will have not just thousands of people out of work but major companies going under along with a decimated small to medium sector. The industry also needs to ensure our service providers can survive so that when we re-activate, we have capacity to get moving as quickly as we can. Cash flow is our biggest problem and government needs to act quickly to put in place emergency measures to ensure we survive.”
LPA is urging the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to develop an industry specific plan.
Immediate priorities are:
- Provide greater national clarity around the projected timeframe for the public health response to coronavirus, including when venues and companies can anticipate preparing to resume operations
- Expedite immediate access to income support for industry participants who have lost employment or income due to venue or event closures, including casual workers and sole traders
- Extend all current government funding arrangements for the next 12 months to minimise disruption to existing companies
- Provide a cash injection to the performing arts sector to enable them to meet cash and reserve shortfalls that will confront them in the next three months
- Provide additional funding to the Australia Council to fund all organisations that were assessed as worthy of funding in the four-year funding review process
- Repurpose and bring forward the allocated $22 million Live Music package to be spent over the next 12 months
- Direct budget support for the duration of this financial year for all live performance businesses impacted by event and venue closures to enable continuity of their operations and employment levels throughout the shutdown period and to ensure viability for recovery in future
- Provide additional funding to Support Act to provide crisis support to the sector
- New funding to enable performances to be delivered through innovative online or digital platforms.
“We are working on other business support measures that government can provide and will be providing that input in the next few days. But we have some immediate short-term priorities that need to be activated now. This is an unprecedented challenge for the live performance industry which goes right to the heart of its future viability. It demands a creative, agile and flexible response from government that is focused on the unique needs of our industry and the people who work in it,” Ms Richardson said.
How You Can Help:
Call you state and federal MPs and re-iterate all of these points. Of particular importance to our industry are the measures for income support.
Find your federal member and their contact details here:
Find your state member and their contact details here:
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