APRA AMCOS head Dean Ormston has called on the Federal Government to extend the JobKeeper scheme beyond March to support an embattled music industry.
The support is currently slated to end on March 28, following an extension at a lower rate from the planned end date of September 28 last year. In a statement issued today, Ormston said JobKeeper needed to be extended for the arts industry because it “will be the last sector able to restart anything akin to business as usual” post-pandemic.
“The constant wave of lockdowns and state border closures means that any local live music events and national touring is impossible to plan. Hospitality and tourism dollars generated from our sector remain stifled. We are an industry in crisis,” he wrote.
“In just two months JobKeeper ends which has been the single most important policy intervention by the government since the pandemic hit our shores. It has provided some certainty and helped keep a large number of individuals and businesses in the music industry on ice so they are ready to restart with new tours and events.”
Ormston noted lockdowns and state border closures in the wake of new outbreaks were “completely understandable”, and wanted further support for the music industry to account for it. He argued that it made both cultural and economic “sense”.
“The arts and entertainment sector contributes around $15 billion per year in GDP and employing close to 200,000 highly-skilled Australians. Australia Institute research has found that for every million dollars in turnover, arts and entertainment produce 9 jobs while the construction industry only produces around 1 job,” Ormston said.
“We can’t afford to lose the skills and businesses of our sector. The result for Australia would be catastrophic.”
Australian Festival Association General Manager Julia Robinson spoke to NME today about how her organisation was advocating for an extension to JobKeeper, and fears of an insolvency cliff once it runs out.
“A lot of AFA members are using JobKeeper for their own staff,” she said. “Those staff, like production and site crew, often work seasonally, but their backup jobs might be in corporate events, which are also not happening – or have turned virtual. You don’t know what will happen once JobKeeper runs out, and what consumers will actually end up doing once they lose that income.”