Live Performance Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of additional assistance for regional and First Nations artists as well as Support Act which provides vital crisis support and relief for our creative industry workers.
“The additional $27 million of funding across these areas of need will certainly be put to good use in these extremely difficult times,” said LPA Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson.
“It’s absolutely critical that we support our First Nations communities at this time of crisis to protect our Elders, to preserve our cultural knowledge, to ensure our song lines, stories, skills and assets survive. It’s also very important that we invest in mental health services, particularly those that target our industry and which can alleviate some of the burden from other services which will be in high demand across our country.
“But, as the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts notes in his announcement, this funding is required because of the ‘devastating impact’ of the COVID-19 outbreak on our performing arts sector.
‘In our regional communities, the coronavirus pandemic impact also comes hard on the heels of the devastating summer bushfires.
“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 crisis,” Ms Richardson said.
Ms Richardson 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.
“Restrictions on public gatherings were important to slow the spread of the virus, but they stopped our industry dead in its tracks,” Ms Richardson said.
Ms Richardson said measures announced so far by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to support the live performance and cultural sector were helpful, but were still several hundred millions of dollars short of what was needed if the industry was to have any prospect of surviving the pandemic phase.
“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.
“Much more must be done, and time is running out,” Ms Richardson said.