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JobKeeper improvements needed to sustain Queensland Arts Sector
The JobKeeper program needs to be improved to address the exclusion of many Queensland arts sector workers. Queensland’s Arts Minister, Leeanne Enoch, has called on the Federal Government to improve eligibility arrangements for the JobKeeper program to address this exclusion.
Based on current JobKeeper rules, the Queensland Performing Arts Trust which operates the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), the Queensland Theatre Company, Major Brisbane Festivals (which produces the Brisbane Festival) and many other significant arts and cultural facilities including in regional Queensland are all deemed ineligible.
Minister Enoch advised she had written to the Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Security and the Arts Paul Fletcher, raising concerns on behalf of artists and arts workers who have been severely impacted by restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Minister Enoch noted “the sustainability of Queensland’s arts and cultural sector and the continued employment of artists and arts workers is so important, and I want to ensure that organisations and arts workers are not excluded from the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program.
“The wholesale exclusion of so many arts and cultural workers from the design of the JobKeeper program is a devastating omission by the Commonwealth.
“I am concerned about the wellbeing of so many workers, who are often engaged on short term contracts.
“Gigs have been cancelled or postponed, and so much income lost as a consequence of necessary restrictions on public gatherings, and these workers should not be excluded from JobKeeper.
“I have written to Paul Fletcher MP, Commonwealth Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, urging him to support our artists, arts workers and organisations by raising these eligibility anomalies with the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
“I have also written to the Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad, who shares these concerns and has raised Jobkeeper program eligibility issues with the Federal Treasurer directly.”
To date, the Queensland Government has announced over $10.5 million in funding relief measures for the arts sector through funding boosts, funding extensions, changes to application dates and criteria, and rent relief.
This targeted support is in addition to more than $4 billion worth of initiatives announced by the State Government to help support Queenslanders and businesses through COVID-19.
Image of QPAC courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland
16th April 2020 - Coronavirus hit arts industry needs $750 million rescue package
10th April 2020 - NSW Arts Minister resigns after Coronavirus lockdown breach
17th March 2020 - Australian Arts and Cultural Organisations respond to Coronavirus
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