A parliamentary petition calling on the Morrison Government to provide further support to arts and entertainment workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic has passed 30,000 signatures in just under a week.
With three weeks before the petition’s closing date, the early figures make it one of the most successful parliamentary petitions in recent years. Per this Parliament House registry, only seven closed petitions have passed the 30,000 figure since 2017.
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The petition is available to access and sign via the Australian Parliament House website until midnight AEST on July 8. It was lodged by actor Chloe Dallimore, Federal President of Equity at the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).
Citing the devastating impact of mass gathering restrictions on the arts and entertainment industry, the petition specifically requests the Morrison Government to broaden the criteria for the JobKeeper payment as many arts and entertainment workers are currently ineligible to receive the support as freelancers and contractors. Furthermore, it calls on the government to deliver the arts and entertainment sector a “tailored and properly targeted relief package to ensure its ongoing viability”.
Back in April, the government voted down a motion to create a targeted stimulus package for the arts and entertainment sector.
The news comes as new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released today (June 16) recorded a 26.3 per cent decrease in jobs in the arts and recreation sector between mid-March and the end of May. 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.
“The response is yet more evidence that this is an industry in crisis, crying out for help from this government,” commented Shadow Minister for the Arts Tony Burke in a press release.
“And it shows that the Australian people want the government to do something to save our country’s cultural life.”