The Greens are backing the calls by the arts and creative industry for an urgent $500m rescue package to prevent collapse of the multi-billion dollar sector in the face of COVID-19.
Greens Spokesperson for the Arts, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:
“Our creative and cultural industries are on the frontline of the COVID-19 fallout with events across the country cancelled and theatres, concerts and festivals effectively shutdown.
“Just this morning we have heard Bluesfest at Byron Bay has been cancelled, this is the loss of another huge festival for our live performing artists.
“As the PM prepares to announce a second stimulus package, this industry must be front and centre as one of the worst hit, with short, medium and long-term ramifications for the economy.
“It’s estimated the arts industry will lose more than half a billion dollars in ticket sales alone over the next three months. The industry needs an urgent rescue package with significant funding to get through the next 12 months.
“The Morrison Government needs to put up to $500m on the table now to stave off mass job losses and business insolvencies.
“The creative and cultural sector brings in about $111 billion a year in Australia and employs almost 600,000 people.
“The Prime Minister must also urgently clarify the regulations and timeframes for the ban on static gatherings of more than 500 people. Clarity is essential to provide legal certainty to event organisers and consumers.
“Many event organisers will be relying on insurance to cover outgoings already incurred which may not kick in if the legal threshold for a government ban hasn’t been met. They must be given certainty immediately.
“The arts industry has been savaged by the Federal Government – the entire department was cut late last year after years of funding cuts and cuts to the Australia Council which smaller community arts organisations have had to cop.
“Yet it was artists and performers and their crews who stepped up to support Australians during the bushfire crisis. It’s time the Government gave back to them.
“A roundtable tomorrow with Minister Fletcher is welcome but the PM needs to put some money on the table and clarify the ban urgently.”