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MEAA advocate for multi-level support of arts and entertainment sector

MEAA advocate for multi-level support of arts and entertainment sector
June 23, 2020

Appearing today before the Senate inquiry into the Government response to COVID-19, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Allowance (MEAA) will advocate a multi-faceted response for the sector to recover post COVID-19.

MEAA advise that financial assistance will be needed to inject capital into arts organisations so they can again create jobs when restrictions are lifted, but even more urgent is income support for the thousands of freelance and casual workers in the sector who have been ruled ineligible for the JobKeeper income subsidy.

There is also a need for regulatory and tax incentives to guarantee future jobs and investment, particularly in the screen and media sectors.

MEAA Chief Executive, Paul Murphy will give evidence to the Senate inquiry that the public health measures taken in March to prevent the spread of Coronavirus brought the arts and entertainment sectors to a standstill and threw tens of thousands of people out of work virtually overnight.

Murphy adds “the arts and entertainment sectors were among the first and hardest hit by COVID-19, and they will be among the last to get back to work as we knew it before Coronavirus.

“A lack of immediate government assistance and the inadequacies of JobKeeper have placed the entire sector in a precarious position from which it may never recover without extensive support on a number of levels.

“Employment in the sectors has shrunk by at least 20% and incomes have dived, and this has been worsened by the tight criteria which have ruled many freelancers and casuals ineligible for JobKeeper.

“The devastation to the arts and entertainment could have been reduced if the Federal Government had responded to pleas from the sector for targeted assistance two months ago.

“Instead, workers in the sector feel they have been abandoned by their own government Minister.”

Appearing alongside Murphy today by video link will be actors Nadine Garner and Helen Dallimore, musician Ruth Hazleton, and production designer Fiona Donovan.

Murphy will also seek to have tabled as evidence a petition to Arts Minister Paul Fletcher signed by almost 15,000 people requesting government support to get the sector back to work.

Image courtesy of Bondi Festival

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