“There's a strong desire to see the return of gigs and events”: Australian government pledges a quarter of a billion to get the arts sector back on track
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An Australian industry taskforce is calling for help in the wake of Covid-19 shutdowns, as LPA states government measures offer insufficient industry-specific support
By Anna Grace on 23 Mar 2020
An Australian music industry taskforce, consisting of Chugg Entertainment, Frontier Touring, Live Nation, Live Performance Australia (LPA) and TEG, among others, has established Sound Of Silence, an initiative dedicated to bringing relief to the Australian live business.
The collective has implemented a range of targeted activity, encouraging fans to donate to music charity Support Act via the SOS website. On the platform, fans can also buy SOS t-shirts with all proceeds going to Support Act, or access an online superstore for artist merchandise.
The taskforce encourages fans to consider donating refunds for cancelled shows to venues or Support Act, and to keep tickets for rescheduled shows, as well as showing support by buying music through online platforms such as Bandcamp.
Workers affected by event cancellations and postponements are directed to the I Lost My Gig platform, which is logging the income loss from cancellations and the number of people and events affected.
At the time of writing, income loss stood at AU$300m (£150.5m), with 274,000 gigs and almost 600,000 Australian workers affected.
The Sound Of Silence initiative comes as many in the industry deem Australian government measures to support the business through the virus insufficient.
“Without a targeted, immediate and substantial support package, there will be no bridge to recovery for these companies and they will die”
Over the weekend, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed a second economic relief package worth $66 billion (£33.2bn), on top of a previous $17.6bn (£8.8bn) package and more than $100bn (£49.8bn) in emergency banking measures.
The new package includes six-month income support for those who have lost their jobs and for self-employed workers, casual workers and contractors who meet the income test; loan guarantees for small- and medium-sized businesses of up to $250,000 (£124,600); and wage subsidies of up to $100,000 (£49,800) for small- and medium-sized businesses.
“The small business package measures announced today, while welcome, will not make a material difference to 80% of our companies,” reads a statement issued by LPA. “These are businesses whose entire revenue has fallen off a cliff. Without immediate support, they won’t survive.
“Without a targeted, immediate and substantial support package, there will be no bridge to recovery for these companies and they will die.”
LPA calls for an additional $650m (£325m) emergency music industry package, warning that without targeted support measures, the virus “will be the death knell for Australia’s world class live performance industry”.
Photo: Commonwealth of Australia 2016 (CC BY 4.0) (cropped)
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