A Melbourne-based musician has called on the federal government to introduce an insurance scheme and wage subsidies program for the arts and entertainment sector.
The arts sector is more exposed than other industries to financial losses from event cancellations caused by lockdowns – and in May, shadow arts minister Tony Burke said that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s failure to establish a national COVID-19 insurance scheme for the sector could place workers and businesses “on the brink of collapse.”
Now, singer-songwriter Alex Lahey has added her voice to calls urging Morrison to address the issue.
“The federal grants program structure has failed to prop up our industry – the trickle-down intentions of this scheme have not come to fruition, leaving performers, crews and venues empty handed,” Lahey said in a statement posted on social media. “Tens of thousands of gigs are cancelled with every month that passes. The necessary snap lockdown strategies, in particular, bring a complete lack of ability to plan and budget for gigs and events, causing collective mental health and confidence to continue to slip with every postponement and cancellation.”
In order to better support artists, Lahey is calling for a federal government-led insurance scheme and wage subsidies program for the arts and entertainment industry, warning that the country is running the risk of losing “a generation’s worth of live performance talent and crew.”
The creative community has been stood down and overlooked,” said Lahey. “But it’s time for us to stand up and call our what we need. I hope our government will listen and come to our aid.”