Australia’s live performance industry needs a targeted and immediate support and stimulus package. It’s imperative to keep people in jobs. It’s critical to keep performing arts companies, the live music sector and other business open in the coming weeks and months.
Live Performance Australia Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson, took part in an industry-wide teleconference with the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts this morning. “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,” she said.
“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.”
“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 reactivate 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,” said Ms Richardson.
Live Performance Australia 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 and 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; and
• 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,” said Ms Richardson.
“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.”
For more information, visit: www.liveperformance.com.au for details.