Melbourne singer-songwriter and author Clare Bowditch has urged the Australian government to amplify its efforts in distributing COVID-19 vaccinations, should Australia’s music industry bounce back from the struggles it’s faced over the past year.
ABC News reports that during Bowditch’s National Press Club speech in Canberra today (May 26), she stressed that until a larger number of Australians are vaccinated, the arts and music industries will continue to suffer.
She noted that digital revenue sources, like streaming, currently net her approximately $12.50 per month. As such, a thriving live music circuit is crucial for working artists, the viability of which hinges on a successful vaccine rollout.
“When is this country going to be vaccinated? Because until it is, we can’t get our jobs back,” she said. “Many people don’t realise that.”
Discussing the potential impacts an enhanced rollout plan would have on Australia’s more prolific international touring acts, Bowditch pointed to the early access to vaccines granted to Australian Olympians.
“We’re talking about a collective $88million of potential revenue over just a short period of time,” she said. “Nobody wants any favours. But I am telling you, if you are looking for vaccination ambassadors, they are good looking and popular, okay?”
Bowditch also highlighted the government’s double standard in allowing high-profile sporting events to go ahead with high attendance rates, while venues were left to suffer the blow of severely reduced capacities; she said that medical advice provided to the government needed to be reviewed, as the rules between both industries were unfairly varied.
“For God’s sake, can we re-look at that research? We need consistency with these rules and we beg you to look at them again,” she said.
“If your medical advice is to keep the rules the way they are […] we need a groundbreaking support package targeted specifically at live music industry.”
Earlier this month, in the unveiling of the 2021-22 federal budget, it was announced that the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund would receive an additional $125.6million over two years, while music crisis charity Support Act was given $10million.