TIME RUNNING OUT FOR ARTS SECTOR

TONY BURKE MP.
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2 weeks ago
TIME RUNNING OUT FOR ARTS SECTOR
TONY BURKE MP
Today marks 20 days since Scott Morrison announced his much-delayed relief package for the Australian arts and entertainment sector – and artists and entertainers still have no idea how to access the funds.
 
It took more than 100 days from Labor’s first calls for action for the government to deliver assistance to the sector. And yet they are still waiting.
 
As of this morning, the Office for the Arts has not released any eligibility criteria, guidelines, or application forms that would enable workers to even determine whether they can apply for grants or concessional loans.
 
This is beyond a joke. The arts and entertainment sector needed this money yesterday. They had to wait for more than 100 days for Scott Morrison to even acknowledge the problems they were facing – and they are still waiting to access the money they have now been promised.
 
The arts and entertainment sector was one of the first to be shut down by government regulations put in place to fight COVID-19, and it will be one of the last sectors to return to normal. It has been hit very hard.
 
The situation has become even more dire with the second lockdown in Victoria, meaning arts and entertainment workers in that state have had their hopes dashed of re-starting their jobs anytime soon. 
 
Like many workers in Australia, those in the arts and entertainment sector are living with the uncertainty of being cut off from JobKeeper thanks to Scott Morrison’s hard snapback in September – and many were deliberately excluded from the scheme by the Morrison government in the first place.
 
Australia’s arts and entertainment sector workers deserve better than this. They are the makers, keepers and producers of Australian stories, and they have helped us to get through this crisis. They are helping us still.
 
It took more than 100 days for the Morrison government to finally act on the desperate calls from the sector for help. How many more days will they have to wait to get the support they were promised?
 
Communications and the Arts