Music and live events have suffered an immediate and direct negative impact as a result of the Government’s necessary and important response to the COVID-19 crisis. Accordingly, similar to the tourism, airline and education industries, our sector urgently requires a Government fiscal response.
This Australian music and live event industry is a $15 billion industry that includes artists and managers as well as small to large business and sole traders. In just the last five days over $220m and 400,000 in lost gigs have been registered through I Lost My Gig. This represents a fraction of the impact.
The overnight closure of the industry means urgent support is needed to protect the livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of artists, managers, agents, crews, venues, contract and casual workers that rely on this industry. Sole traders working in live event and music production have been hit hardest and need immediate financial support. Special emergency support must include workers who have a bona fide, good faith offers to work that are cancelled due to this crisis.
Emergency action – what needs to happen now
- Expedite 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
- Urgent Centrelink eligibility for workers and artists in the music and live events industry, Newstart waiting period waved to allow immediate payments
- Immediate and initial $20 million support package allocated to Support Act for crisis support and hardship
Sector Relief – what needs to happen next
- Cultural Ministers Council communique acknowledging the catastrophic economic and cultural impacts of this crisis on Australian music, live events and the workers who rely on this sector
- Music and live venues – to avoid mass closure, state and local government fee relief and a moratorium on liquor licence fees, insurance, rents, utilities and overheads immediately
- Urgent financial aid for across the sector to remain solvent including emergency payments to sole traders and small businesses
- Repurpose and bring forward the allocated $22 million Live Music package to be spent over the next 12 months
- $10m Austrade bushfire cultural relief funding to be allocated immediately to those regions to support cultural workers, events and venues remain solvent
- Urgent funding increase for the Australia Council to support small-to-medium companies, organisations and artists of $50 million
- Support for training completion administered by industry for the music and live event workforce
- Tax relief through delayed tax return payment and postponement of BAS quarterly payments
- Support to develop further training opportunities administered by industry to provide skills and training for the music and live event workforce
- From six months the industry will need to kick start to re-open venues and to begin business. This will require government to consider a broad-based approach, including tax offsets, to ensure the live music and live events sector can revive and recover from crisis
- Income averaging for artists extended to other small and medium sized businesses that derive their income from artists. Extend the lifespan of the program to run from 5 to 7 years