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Musicians call for JobKeeper extension

Musicians call for JobKeeper extension
February 17, 2021

Thousands of musicians have signed an open letter pleading the Australian Government to extend JobKeeper beyond the planned cessation of the subsidy in March.

The letter, drafted by the music rights organisation APRA AMCOS and signed by more than 3,500 names in the music industry, was sent to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher today.

Signatories include Paul Kelly, Archie Roach, Missy Higgins and Bernard Fanning, along with members of bands the Cat Empire, Birds of Tokyo, Killing Heidi and Midnight Oil.

Advising that the music industry had been one of the sectors hardest hit by COVID-19, with analysis showing live music was still operating at 4% of pre lockdown levels, APRA AMCOS Chief Executive, Dean Ormston stated “the last 12 months has been one of the most distressing and destabilising in living memory.

“The constant wave of lockdowns and state border closures means that any local live music events and national touring is impossible to plan.

“Hospitality and tourism dollars generated from our sector remain stifled. We are an industry in crisis.”

With the JobKeeper subsidy reduced from $1,200 a fortnight to $1,000 in January it is currently scheduled to end as of extend 28th March.

However, while Treasurer Frydenberg has repeatedly said the program will halt at the end of March, Federal Tourism Minister, Dan Tehan, has confirmed that a package of targeted support for the tourism industry is being confirmed.

An RMIT-led study commissioned by the Victorian Music Development Office and the Victorian Office for Women released earlier this week found 58% of respondents working in the music industry were considering leaving it as a result of Coronavirus lockdowns.

More than half the respondents said they were struggling to pay for basics such as food and rent.

Ormston added “we can’t afford to lose the skills and businesses of our sector.

“The result for Australia would be catastrophic.”

Image: Midnight Oil are among musicians calling on the Australian Government to extend JobKeeper beyond its planned end as of 28th March.

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