National peak body Live Performance Australia has called on the government for an immediate $850 million support package, warning that the $4 billion industry “is on the brink of collapse” without it.
LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson took part in an industry-wide teleconference with minister for communications, cyber safety and the arts Paul Fletcher 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.
“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,” Ms Richardson said.
“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.”
LPA 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
• New funding to enable performances to be delivered through innovative online or digital platforms.