ARTS INDUSTRY FORCED TO WAIT MONTHS MORE FOR HELP

TONY BURKE MP.
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2 months ago
ARTS INDUSTRY FORCED TO WAIT MONTHS MORE FOR HELP
TONY BURKE MP
Australia’s arts and entertainment sector waited more than 100 days for the Morrison Government to announce a coronavirus support package – but it’s already unravelling amid new revelations it will be months more until the money actually starts flowing.

The government’s package left arts and entertainment workers behind by failing to extend JobKeeper or offering them some other form of direct support, instead opting for grants and loans to businesses.

But in evidence to the COVID-19 Senate committee, Dr Stephen Arnott from the Office for the Arts confirmed what many in the industry had feared about the $75 million grants process.
 
KATY GALLAGHER: What’s your best estimate on actually getting money out the door? Presumably once the guidelines are settled you then have to go through an application process, assessment process….

DR STEPHEN ARNOTT: I would say several months from now until when the first payments will actually start to flow is probably a reasonable timeframe …

GALLAGHER: So it’s unlikely you would have money out in the first quarter of this financial year?

ARNOTT: We will do our very best but it would be towards the end. It would be towards the end.
 
That means grants won’t roll out for at least another three months. Having just endured a torturous 100-day wait to be noticed– are they in for another 100-day wait to be helped?
 
And when the money does finally start flowing Minister Paul Fletcher will have full control over approvals, it has been revealed.

That’s right, another Morrison Government minister with full discretion over a grants program, breaking with the long-held precedent of independent arms-length grants approval processes in the arts.

Will grants unfairly favour Coalition electorates at the expense of more deserving recipients? Will it be just another Liberal-National pork-barrelling exercise?

Whatever the case, the government’s too-little-too-late arts package is quickly being exposed as yet another Coalition sham, where the reality doesn’t match the promise.
Communications and the Arts