More than 80 per cent of the A$250m (£138m/€153m/$172m) support package for Australia’s arts and cultural sectors has not yet been allocated, a Senate estimates committee meeting has found.
The funding, which was announced in June by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, included A$75m for the live music sector, with grants of between A$75,000 and A$2m promised.
The music industry has received no money from the emergency package four months since it was found, while the Senate committee found that only $49.5m has been dispersed, with the majority going to Screen Australia to fund 20 films and TV productions.
None of the 314 applications for a share of the A$75m set aside to stage new festivals, concerts, tours and events have been assessed yet. In addition, no submissions for a A$35m pool for those experiencing acute cash flow hardships were assessed either.
In June, Morrison said he intended to create a taskforce to oversee the implementation of the support package.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, one of the committee members said: “It’s hardly coming to the rescue if eight months after being hit by COVID19 restrictions the industry is still waiting for support. It’s like promising a struggling swimmer a lifebuoy and not throwing it out till they’re too weak to hold onto it.”
Jessica Ducrou, the co-chief executive of festival Splendour in the Grass, commented on the issue at the October 21 Australian Events Awards. She highlighted that crowd caps were lifted to 40,000 for football games and horse races “in the name of economic recovery (but) there has been no such assistance for our Australian music festivals, which employed 9,176 FTE workers and injected over A$2.7bn into the Australian economy in 2019.”
Over the weekend, more than 70,000 fans attended Australia’s two biggest sporting events of the year over the weekend. Some 29,707 people attended the AFL Grand Final Aussie rules showpiece on Saturday at The Gabba in Brisbane. Meanwhile, more than 37,300 fans were in attendance at the 2020 National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Final at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
Meanwhile, preliminary findings from The Economic Cost of COVID-19 on Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry report found that the live entertainment industry could see A$23.6bn in lost economic output for the sector in 2020 if COVID-19 restrictions remain in place until the end of year, a new report has found.
The report by EY estimates that the pandemic has led to a fall of 65 per cent in the economic output of the industry to A$12.8bn in 2020 if restrictions remain in place until the end of year. Similarly, the total value added by live entertainment is predicted to fall by 65 per cent from A$16.6bn in 2019 to A$5.9bn in 2020, a fall of $10.7bn.