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Arts and entertainment funding package welcomed by Live performance industry

Arts and entertainment funding package welcomed by Live performance industry
June 25, 2020

Australia’s live performance industry has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a significant package of targeted funding measures to support the arts and entertainment industry recover from the impact of COVID-19 over the next 12 months.

The package includes $75 million of capital funding to help production and event businesses put on new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease. Grants of between $75,000 and $2 million will be available.

There is also $90 million in concessional loans to be backed by government guarantee, along with $35 million in direct financial assistance to support Commonwealth-funded arts organisations, as well as $50 million to assist local screen production

Live Performance Australia’s President, Richard Evans noted “we thank the Prime Minister and Arts Minister with this announcement to restart our industry, a significant acknowledgement of the arts and entertainment industry’s critical role in creating jobs and growth within the Australian economy.

“We look forward to working closely with the government to get our businesses safely up and running and in front of audiences across Australia as soon as possible.”

Live Performance Australia’s Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson added “our industry was the first to be profoundly affected by the public health restrictions to combat COVID-19, and faces a longer road to recovery as restrictions are progressively lifted around the country.

“COVID-19 has caused significant damage and disruption for our industry: performing arts companies and venues closed overnight; performers, production and technical staff and crews were without work or stood down; and companies and organisations were left with no alternative sources of revenue.

Richardson notes that while JobKeeper has been an important support for those who have been able to access it, she highlights that many in the Live Performance industry industry have suffered devastating income losses, along with the many businesses which rely on the industry, including across the tourism and hospitality sector.

Richardson advises “that’s why the measures announced in this package, which reflect our industry’s unique characteristics and the challenges it faces, are so important. They also recognise the significant economic contribution that our commercial sector makes to Australia’s economic and cultural well-being.

“Commercial production companies are among the biggest generators of employment and economic activity in the performing arts, and it is pleasing to see their contribution and needs have been addressed in this package.”

On the funding Richardson states “this is a vital injection of capital funding which will help live performance companies reopen and start to rebuild after the impact of the overnight loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over the past three months.

“We greatly appreciate the support of the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Minister for the Arts in developing this package and their recognition of the important contribution the arts and entertainment industry makes to Australia’s economic, social and cultural life.

“State and territory governments have also put in place critical funding measures to support the industry through this period. Their continued support as we reopen and reactivate over the coming months will also be vital.

“Our priority now is to get our industry fully operational, our venues open and our people back to work. We are very much looking forward to turning the lights back on and seeing our performers and artists back on stage and touring as soon as practicable.”

Richardson also welcomed the establishment of a Creative Economy Taskforce to guide the implementation of these funding programs.

Images: Live performance (top, courtesy of Ticketmaster) and performer Guy Sebastian with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison discuss the package at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre at West HQ today (below).

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