Arts sector key to COVID19 recovery

Published on Tue 10 November 2020 3:22pm

Mr Wilson (5:43pm) – Thank you Deputy Speaker. And I’d also like the minister to explain and justify the government’s approach to the arts and creative sector – its apparent vendetta against the arts and creative sector.

It’s been part of their sort of heroes and villains approach throughout their government. For some reason the Coalition doesn’t value the arts. They don’t regard creative industries as real businesses, and they don’t regard artists as real workers.

Nevermind the fact that the sector employs 645,000 Australians, and generates $111 billion annually. Nevermind the fact that arts and creative industries were among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Instead, under this government workers were designed out of the Jobseeker programme. And even there’s been no effective targeted support and even the artists that governments used in its media events have gone empty handed, which is remarkable.

It does tell you something that even in the cases where the government’s made announcements, like the location incentive scheme, that it cannot bring itself to talk about the people that actually work in that sector that it focuses on electricians and carpenters, which are important tradespeople, and they’re important jobs.

But would it kill the government, would it kill this government, the Prime Minister and the minister, to actually mention filmmakers, screenwriters, producers, stunt people, actors. Would it kill them to mention the people who actually work in this industry, you know, are these workers whose names cannot be spoken for any reason other than that there is this enduring antipathy from the government to those workers.

Deputy Speaker, the Minister should know that creative industries ought to be a foundation block in the broad task of building new jobs and even new export opportunities in the future. And yet the government treats the sector, the businesses and the workers in the sector with disregard and neglect. They have run down the Australia Council. They’ve relentlessly cut our public broadcasters, they were elected on a promise by the Prime Minister not to cut the ABC, they’ve done that at every turn. They’re doubling the cost of studying arts and humanities, and they’ve comprehensively ignored the specific need of the arts and creative industries in their pandemic response.

So, Minister, why is the government going out of its way to make life harder for the creative industries and workers, for Australian storytellers and songwriters and film makers and artists, when they’ve been acutely affected through that pandemic. And really they should be a key focus of our COVID-19 recovery.

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