An official petition calling for the Australian government to extend JobKeeper payments to currently-ineligible arts and entertainment workers has been lodged with parliament.
The petition is available on the Australian Parliament House website until midnight July 8. At the time of writing (June 11), over 8,100 people had signed the petition.
The arts and entertainment sector have been among the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. According to I Lost My Gig Australia, those working in the sector have reported more than $340million in lost income since the beginning of the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the petition noted that there remains “major gaps in coverage for freelancers and contractors” in the JobKeeper scheme.
“These gaps affect the vast majority of artists, and a very significant number of technical workers,” they said.
“The Treasurer has the ability to fix this without legislation, and he must do so immediately.”
Parliamentary debate resumed in Canberra yesterday (June 10), with JobKeeper one of the key items on the agenda.
Jim Chalmers, the shadow treasurer, described JobKeeper as “a very good idea being very badly implemented.”
“It wasn’t that long ago Scott Morrison was saying ‘if you have a go, you get a go,'” he said.
“[N]ow he’s saying to so many workers, ‘you’ve had a go, now off you go to Centrelink.'”
The Morrison Government intends to keep JobKeeper in place until September 2020. The return of large-scale entertainment in Australia, however, still remains uncertain.