GOVERNMENT DOESN’T EVEN BOTHER TO ASK HOW TO HELP ARTS WORKERS

TONY BURKE MP.
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3 weeks ago
GOVERNMENT DOESN’T EVEN BOTHER TO ASK HOW TO HELP ARTS WORKERS
TONY BURKE MP
The Morrison Government hasn’t even bothered to ask Treasury for advice about how it could support tens of thousands of workers in the arts and entertainment industry through the coronavirus crisis.

More than a quarter of arts and recreation employees have lost their jobs since the government started ordering shutdowns in March, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week. Many more watched their incomes evaporate and job opportunities disappear as gigs were cancelled, shows scrapped, galleries closed down and productions halted.

This was the first industry to be shut down – and it’s likely to be the last to emerge from this crisis.

And yet despite Labor’s warnings and the industry’s cries for help, the government knowingly left many of these workers out of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme – forcing them into the Centrelink queue.

Now we have learnt in the COVID-19 Senate inquiry the government hasn’t even bothered to ask Treasury for advice on how to expand JobKeeper to include these workers.

This is a government that cares so little about workers in the arts it apparently hasn’t even thought about including them in JobKeeper. This is a $111 billion industry facing decimation and it hasn’t even occurred to this government to intervene to support the incomes of these workers in their hour of need.

Josh Frydenberg has the power to change this with the stroke of a pen. He should.

The arts sector was there when Australia needed it, helping to raise money for bushfire relief. Australians are relying on music, books, and Australian television and movies to help get them through this period of isolation and crisis. But the Government has completely abandoned these workers.
Communications and the Arts