Trade body Live Performance Australia (LPA) has called on newly elected prime minister Anthony Albanese to deliver targeted support to the sector as it navigates a fresh set of challenges in the wake of the Covid storm.
Albanese’s Labor party defeated Scott Morrison’s conservative coalition in the Australian election on 21 May and went on to secure a majority in parliament this week.
Congratulating the PM and his team on their victory, LPA CEO Evelyn Richardson says the live arts and entertainment industry is looking forward to forming a productive partnership with the government.
“Our industry is not looking for handouts”
“LPA stands ready to work with a newly formed Labor government to advance the economic, cultural and social interests of our nation,” says Richardson. “The first priority must be to deliver a revitalized cultural policy this year, with clear strategic priorities and investment to rebuild the industry. We are ready to hit the ground running.
“Our industry is not looking for handouts. We strongly believe that public investment in arts and entertainment delivers significant economic and cultural value. Australia needs a vibrant arts and entertainment industry to contribute to our economic recovery and drive social and cultural wellbeing – at a time when it’s never been needed more.”
Covid-19 stripped the domestic live entertainment industry of AUS$1.4 billion in revenue during 2020, according to a study published last year by the LPA’s Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report. Australia imposed some of the world’s strictest travel bans after shutting itself off in March 2020.
And despite the country reopening its international border in February for the first time in nearly two years, Richardson warns the business is not out of the woods yet.
“We’ve lost billions in revenue plus thousands of people across the industry and now face a severe skill and labor shortage”
“Our industry faces a new set of challenges as we manage the ongoing challenges of transitioning to living with Covid,” she says. “Before Covid, our industry was a vast ecosystem of small, medium and large businesses, sole operators and tens of thousands of performers, artists, creatives and technical crew. We’ve lost billions in revenue plus thousands of people across the industry and now face a severe skill and labor shortage, the worst ever experienced by the industry in living memory.
“Targeted support to rebuild skills, and to underwrite and attract investment will enable us to create jobs, create new work, get more shows on stage, our touring networks re-established, and broaden our audiences both here and internationally. This will support not just our artists and industry, but all the associated upstream and downstream businesses which depend upon live events as stimulus.
“We look forward to working with a new, energized government that values who we are and what we contribute, in the months and years ahead.”
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