AMPAG welcomes government support but gaps remain

MEDIA RELEASE “The livelihoods and well-being of art workers in our sector are a primary concern. AMPAG welcomes the government's recognition of the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the sector and the $27million targeted support announced this morning” said Bethwyn Serow Executive Director of the Australian Major Performing Arts Group.

AMPAG welcomes government support but gaps remain

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The package includes:

  • Indigenous artists and arts centre ($7million)
  • regional artists and organisations to develop new work and explore new delivery models ($10million)
  • and the sector charity Support Act who provide financial support and counselling to artists and crew who have seen their work and livelihoods dry up overnight ($10million).

The Government media release is attached

“The wage subsidy package JobKeeper, passed into legislation last night, has been well received by our member organisations and we thank the government for this initiative. The extent to which we can retain our skilled teams during the COVID-19 shut down will have a significant impact on our capacity to rebuild once the crisis passes.

“Unfortunately, there also remains widespread concern among our members regarding contract/casual staff not yet covered by theJobKeeper scheme.”

“We learnt last week that the number of small-to-medium arts companies eligible to receive 4-year funding 2021-2024 has dropped by 29. This fund provides stability and certainty - critical factors in enabling arts organisations to take risks and to flourish. While we welcome transitional arrangements to support those exiting the program, the fact is many respected, vibrant performing arts organisations have been cut from the program over the longer term. They are now facing even greater uncertainty and Australia Council’s program funding, which was already under great pressure, is stretched even further to support organisations through the COVID-19 crisis,” said AMPAG Chair Mary Jo Capps AM.

“We estimate the major performing arts organisations will have lost over $210 million in earned and contributed income through the first phase of the COVID-19 closures. Those fortunate to have reserves are drawing on them now to mitigate the current crisis, placing them in a fragile state for future trading.

“May and June are ordinarily critical fundraising months for the charity sector. However, philanthropy and corporate sponsorship is already stalling. The economic downturn will limit the availability and increase the competition for donations well into next year for all arts charities. To help offset this decline and to build non-government support, AMPAG is calling for philanthropic stimulus in the

form of matched funding and increased gift deductibility for charities including the performing arts for the next 18 months. “

“AMPAG also strongly supports the need for an additional performing arts and live entertainment package to deliver direct relief to organisations carrying heavy losses and imminent solvency issues due to COVID-19 closures.”

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