Arts is a vital sector

Published on Mon 15 March 2021 2:48pm

I cannot understand why this government is so blind to the enormous value of arts and cultural organizations and workers in this country. Artists and their work, their music, stories, theatre, dance, film, and the full spectrum of visual arts artists and their work should be acknowledged, they should be supported and cherished – not left scrambling for survival. Not left rolling towards disaster.

Mr Wilson (4:44pm) – Deputy Speaker, the COVID pandemic has changed the way we all live and it’s hit some aspects of life particularly hard. Without doubt, one of those is our ability to enjoy arts and cultural activities, and these are not marginal activities or optional extras. They’re the core of our lives – socially, culturally and, for hundreds of thousands of Australians, economically because it’s their life work.

Yet an estimated 65 per cent of full time-equivalent jobs in live entertainment and cultural industries were lost in 2020. Revenue now remains at one third of 2019 levels and for those who rely on international custom it’s less than 10 per cent. Many operators report their capacity to support staff is entirely dependent on JobKeeper.

 Deputy Speaker, the week before last It was good to share a beer and listen to a couple of up-and-coming bands with Labor leader Anthony Albanese at Mojo’s, a live music institution in Fremantle. Unfortunately, Mojos, like many arts and cultural businesses is focused with sharp apprehension on the cliff that’s approaching because the Morrison government – ignoring all the warnings, and all the evidence – is yanking away support.

I cannot understand why this government is so blind to the enormous value of arts and cultural organizations and workers in this country. Artists and their work, their music, stories, theatre, dance, film, and the full spectrum of visual arts artists and their work should be acknowledged, they should be supported and cherished – not left scrambling for survival. Not left rolling towards disaster.

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