Australian Government Creative Economy Package a Critical Lifeline
APRA AMCOS welcomes the Australian Government’s $250 million creative economy package which will help alleviate some COVID-19's impact on the music and arts sector.
“The announcement by the Morrison Government comes at an urgent time not just for the music sector, but the broader creative economy. Importantly the announcement reflects the recognition by the Morrison Government of the enormous contribution the arts, entertainment and creative industries contribute to the economy and our way of life” said Dean Ormston, CEO APRA AMCOS.
The music sector fell off a cliff on 13 March when the Australian Government made the correct and prudent decision to shut the nation down. Without the ability for artists to play and venues to open around the country, the industry lost billions of dollars in revenue. It is estimated the box-office loss in relation to live music alone will be half a billion dollars over six months.
“This package will provide a necessary and critical lifeline to many music businesses and organisations to ensure they can get through the next 12 months. It is also an important accompaniment to the Government’s previously announced $10 million funding of SupportAct, Australia’s only charity delivering crisis relief services to artists, crew and music workers,” Dean Ormston said.
“The package also recognises the vital role the creative sector has on the broader economy. Live music alone contributes $16 billion of value to the Australian community providing vital commercial, individual and civic benefits.”
The Australian Government’s Bureau of Communications and Arts Research estimates that cultural and creative activity contributed $111.7 billion to GDP in 2016–17, or 6.4% of GDP.
“We commend Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Arts Minister Paul Fletcher for listening to the concerns of the sector and acknowledging the unique and devastating impact the pandemic is having on the artists, businesses and workers in our part of the cultural economy,” Mr Ormston said.
“In particular, we applaud the government’s establishment of seed investment to reactivate productions and tours and providing sustainability support for organisations. This will be key to reviving live music events, concerts and festivals and getting musicians and songwriters to do what they do best.
“We welcome the $50 million local screen production kick start fund. This will be imperative for local film and television producers to secure finance and start filming again. This funding should ensure that local talent, particularly local screen composers, are given a much-needed boost in work.
“We remain deeply concerned about the 4000-plus venues across Australia who present live music. They are now closed with no certainty as to when a restart is likely or viable.
“The Australian Government must ensure there is coordination with all states and territories to guarantee there is the investment and incentives in place to ensure there isn’t a mass shutdown of live music.
“The closure of live music venues will not only have a devastating impact on local economies and tourism but will also threaten the music ecology that Australia has successfully built up over decades.
“APRA AMCOS will continue to call for a broad-based, long term investment in the live music sector through a tax rebate for venues presenting live music,” Mr Ormston said.
The Australian Government’s package follows the release of an Open Letter on 10 June signed by over 1,200 artists, businesses and workers in the music industry to provide sector support to ensure its survival.
The Open Letter has five key asks of the Australian Government, including the expansion of JobKeeper to artists and individuals who have been excluded, an extension of the scheme until at least the end of the year and tax offsets and red-tape reduction for the sector.
APRA AMCOS looks forward to the Australian Government’s review into JobKeeper next month. An extension of JobKeeper for the music and broader entertainment sector beyond September will be critical to ensure the engagement of artists, employment of skilled workers and the ongoing viability of creative businesses and venues.