“The arts community needs your support”: Alex Lahey pens open letter to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

"It's the arts community that is suffering and is in need... we need your support"

Australian singer-songwriter Alex Lahey has written an open letter to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on the current plight of the arts sector amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

In the letter, Lahey explains the situation that she and countless others working in the arts currently find themselves in: Due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, gigs and festivals are being either postponed to later in 2020 or cancelled outright.

Lahey, who was previously set to tour through April in support of City & Colour, has called upon the Australian government to lend assistance to the arts sector.

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“My team and I now do not have any foreseeable income to pay our rents, our mortgages, our bills and support our families,” she writes in her open letter.

“Whilst initiatives have been put in place to provide financial stimulus through tax initiatives and some employers have moved towards providing support for their casualised workforce, people like myself do not qualify for the latter and have to wait far too long for the former. There is no immediate relief and support.”

The 27-year-old also notes that prior to touring and making music on a full-time basis, she worked a job at the Department of Premier and Cabinet as a media monitor.

“I have worked hard my whole life to get to the point where I can live off the money I earn playing my music,” she said.

“I employ a number of local musicians as part of my pursuits, and have a brilliant local team who depend on me to provide them with a modest income.”

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Lahey stresses the importance of supporting those struggling in the arts sector, especially after so many within the community used their positions to raise millions in support of bushfire relief just months ago.

“The Victorian arts community has proven its ability to support others in trying times and give to those in need,” she wrote.

“[U]nder the current global circumstances, it’s the arts community that is suffering and is in need… we need your support.”

At the time of publishing, Premier Andrews had not responded to Lahey’s letter.

Read Lahey’s statement in full via Twitter below:

 

Lahey’s letter echoes calls from Aussie music industry organisations seeking support from the government for the arts sector. Last week, a number of music and hospitality organisations including Live Performance Australia, APRA AMCOS and ARIA formed a coalition calling on the Australian government for urgent support.

Live Performance Australia has also written to Arts Minister Paul Fletcher seeking financial support for workers in the music industry who have lost jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Within two days’ of its launch, the website ILostMyGig.com.au logged nearly $50million in income lost to event cancellations due to the coronavirus and bushfires.

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