COVID-19 and the Arts Sector

28 Mar

(Apologies for the length of this post)

Hi everyone. I hope you are all okay in this crisis time for the Arts and Cultural Sector across Australia. It’s time to look after each other, wash your hands, keep your distance and stay at home.

COVID-19 is the single biggest disruption to Australia’s cultural life in generations.

Across the nation when arts events are cancelled:

  • hundreds of thousands of artists and artsworkers’ livelihoods are threatened,
  • thousands of small-to-medium companies risk closure because their self-generated income isn’t flowing,
  • the entire arts industry is imperilled,
  • countless workers and businesses are affected in all of the industries that depend on our success such as local and regional hospitality and tourism, and
  • millions of Australians are bereft of social connection and cultural life at a time of worldwide panic.

On the back of summer’s fires and storms, plus the past five years’ funding cuts at all levels of government, this comes at the most vulnerable time the arts industry has ever experienced.

Peak Arts bodies across Australia continue to assess impacts. For example since Saturday 14 March, I Lost My Gig has recorded over $280 million of lost income for creative industry businesses and workers. This represents 255,000 gig/event cancellations, impacting 500,000 people and is just a fraction of the domino impact COVID-19 continues to have.

Canberra is no different with the impact deep and wide.

To date, none of the Australian Government’s stimulus commitments have addressed the industry that was one of the first to be hit by the economic devastation of COVID-19.

The Childers Group wishes to commend the work of Minister for the Arts Paul Fletcher in hosting an industry-wide a roundtable on 17 March, and bringing forward an extraordinary Meeting of Cultural Ministers on 19 March. Minister Fletcher understands what’s needed – and he needs your support to make that happen.

We thank the ACT Government (Minister Ramsay and Chief Minister Barr) for being on the front foot and making the arts sector a part of it’s initial stimulus package. It is much appreciated. Check out artsACT Homefront : https://www.arts.act.gov.au/funding/homefront

Childers echos the calls of all of Australia’s arts industry bodies in calling for stimulus. All together, a $1bn package is needed: $780m in S2M business stimulus payments; $180m to the Australia Council; and $40m for the Artists’ Benevolent Fund and Support Act. Additionally, a wage fund and subsidy for the freelance and casual workers and sole traders who make up the bulk of the industry will be vital.

Australia’s artists and creative workers lead the nation in innovation – we invented the gig economy and the portfolio career – and only a small fraction ever receive government funding. We’re in crisis right now because our self-generated income has collapsed. Your immediate action can prevent the collapse of our entire industry.

Australia needs to act now. There is so very much at stake.

On the Canberra Artists Action Group(CAAG) Facebook page there is information on Letter/Email writing to our local Federal politicians especially Senator Seselja our Liberal member and Assistant Minister for Finance

Cheers

Michael White

Convenor of the Childers Group

I’m also on the Government Group at CAAG

Some useful links :

Canberra Artists Action Group (CAAG) : https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=canberra%20artists%20action%20group&epa=SEARCH_BOX

NAVA : https://visualarts.net.au/advocacy/industry-advisory-note-covid-19-response/

LPA : https://liveperformance.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/MR-Industry-Death-Knell-22-March-2020V2.pdf

MEAA : https://www.meaa.org/campaigns/coronavirus/

ilostmygig : https://ilostmygig.net.au/resources-%2B-govt-links

 

 

 

 

 

 

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