APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston has called for a tax offset for venues that host live music and for the current JobKeeper legislation to be extended beyond its September end date.
Speaking on 2GB’s Afternoons with Deborah Knight today (June 1), Ormston pointed out that parts of the live entertainment industry were affected well before the coronavirus pandemic, as the bushfire crisis also hindered live music in regional areas.
“Because the community’s been shut down with the bushfires, and then with COVID arriving, many people haven’t worked for months,” Ormston said.
“Many people have donated their time to perform to raise money for other communities, and so now’s the time for government to step up and go, ‘How do we help?'”
Ormston said that though he hasn’t spoken to Prime Minister Scott Morrison directly, APRA AMCOS has put a call through to this office to have JobKeeper extended beyond September.
Ormston noted many live entertainment workers aren’t eligible for JobKeeper as it stands. This concern echoes similar criticisms raised by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the Australian Music Industry Network and industry workers themselves.
“Our people are hurting, people are falling between the cracks,” Ormston said.
As venues gradually begin to reopen their doors, Ormston said there needs to be help from the Federal Government to encourage bookers to program live music and for punters to turn up.
“We’re putting forward the argument that there will need to be support for venues. That will mean putting forward grants to get venues to put on live music,” he said.
“We’re also advocating that there should be a tax offset relating to live music, a broad-based tax offset which is going to be the best way to catalyse the 4,000-odd pubs across Australia that have presented live music, in addition to supporting festivals and events.”
Ormston added, “The Government needs to look at it in the terms of – this thing is a $16billion industry. It punches well above its weight.”
Listen to the full interview below:
Earlier today (June 1), Morrison flagged on 2GB that targeted support would be made available to the entertainment and film industries. However, he ruled out expanding the JobKeeper criteria to include arts and live entertainment workers who are currently ineligible.