News

16 Mar 2020

What You Can Do – Who Can Help

Everything is shut, all tours are off, and this is the bleakest outlook for the industry in all of our lifetimes. In the face of the unprecedented crisis facing the live production industry, we need to lobby government for stimulus and financial aid. Some of our industry peak bodies have been doing an excellent job of this, notably Live Performance Australia, the Australian Music Industry Network, and the Australian Festival Association, but we need a grass roots campaign to really be heard.

Get on the phone and call your MPs, both state and federal. Find your federal member and their contact details here:

https://www.aph.gov.au/senators_and_members/members

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Find your state member and their contact details here:

https://www.australia.gov.au/about-government/states-territories-and-local-government/state-parliaments-and-members-contacts

Ask them what they are going to do to support our $2.5 billion live events industry, which has been shuttered overnight. Inform them that is one of the most casualised, insecure workforces in Australia, with a suicide rate seven times the national average. The current financial measures announced by government do not even begin to cover us. Remind them it is the same industry that donated all of its time, labour, equipment, and experience to stage events like FireFight Australia and hundreds of community events like it around the country. We came to the aid of all Australians affected by the bushfire crisis – who’s going to do the same for us?

Get on the phone first, email them second, then print that as a letter and mail it to them. Also contact their counterparts in opposition – they love having ammunition to beat the incumbent with. If you can get a shadow minister to put pressure on the sitting member by asking what they’re doing about a crisis in parliament, that’s political gold, which leads to action.

The Australian Music Industry Network and the Australian Festival Association have responded quickly with ilostmygig.net.au/, a website where you can volunteer data on the financial impact to your business. Go to the site and provide the information – this will be an invaluable tool to lobby government. We need accurate numbers to lobby credibly.

For Those Who Can Afford It

If you are in a position to keep employing casuals and freelancers, do it. There’s never been a better time to get all of those maintenance and repair jobs done that you can never get to when you’re busy.

If you can buy gear, do it. When the dollars stop flowing, everyone is affected. The federal government has extended the instant write-off provision to any item that costs up to $150K, and increased the turnover ceiling for businesses that can access it from $50 million to $500 million. To be very clear, that means if your business turns over less than $500 million a year, you qualify.

Donate to SupportAct – they support crew and techs, in partnership with CrewCare.

For Those Hardest Affected

Our young, casualised workforce is hardest affected in the short term. While our industry is shut down, others continue. Think laterally and find work that will be in higher demand during this crisis – distribution, logistics, driving, deliveries, video conferencing, web streaming, and tech support for the vast workforce that has just been told to stay home and tele-commute.

If things get really tough, reach out – we’re all going through the same thing. The SupportAct Wellbeing Helpline is free, confidential, and staffed 24/7 by professional counsellors:

1800 959 500

I’d also like to share a few words posted by industry leader Graeme Whitehouse, Director of People and Assets at NW Group, on his personal Facebook page, as I couldn’t say it better:

“Jump on the Roady4Roadies website and register for one of the events taking place near you on April 5th. Take that refund you got from the concert cancellation you just received and donate it to Crew Care. Get in touch with your backstage friends if you’ve got them and see if they’re ok. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but I know in a few weeks there will be people struggling to put food on the table. Invite them around for a barby and tell them not to bring anything. (Unplug your home AV system and tell them you need a hand to fix it or something, they’re a proud bunch). This post isn’t about me by the way, my household is ok.. But some of my brothers and sisters are going to need a bit of a leg-up.”

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