More than 80 musicians have inked an open letter to the government warning thousands of jobs will be lost if there's no immediate support for the industry.
More than 80 musicians have inked an open letter to the government warning thousands of jobs will be lost if there's no immediate support for the industry.

Australian musicians sing out for support

A chorus of Australian musicians is singing out for federal government support, warning that without intervention thousands of jobs will be lost because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The group includes Prime Minister Scott Morrison's favourite musician Tina Arena, as well as Jimmy Barnes, John Farnham, Regurgitator, Jessica Mauboy and Gotye.

More than 80 musicians have penned the open letter to the government calling for an extension of the wage subsidy scheme JobKeeper for the sector, as one of five ways to help.

They're also seeking a $345 million live performance industry recovery package, including a $40 million recovery fund.

"Our artists and industry are always there to come to the aid of our nation during a crisis. Now it is time for the nation to come to our aid," the letter says.

"Most of the 4000-plus venues that present live music across Australia are closed with no certainty as to when a restart is likely or viable."

There remains no clarity on when crowds of more than 100 people can gather, leaving the industry in the lurch.

"Without immediate government intervention, the Australian music sector will be hit twice as hard as the rest of the economy and thousands of jobs will be lost within months," the letter says.

"The long-term cost to Treasury, the economy and the damage to our cultural infrastructure will be immense and long-lasting."

Live music alone is expected to see a loss of $500 million over six months.

The federal government is weighing up a support package for the broader arts sector, which could include targeted help to certain areas of the industry such as film.

The musicians have asked for:

* JobKeeper extended beyond September until trade is realistic

* An expansion of JobKeeper to include musicians who work from gig-to-gig or contract-to-contract

* A $345 million recovery package, including a $40 million recovery fund

* Boost Australia Council for the Arts funding by $70 million so grants are available in the recovery

* Introduction of a rebatable tax offset for live music, a rebate on the alcohol excise and wine tax, as well as rebates for recording Australian music.

Originally published as Australian musicians sing out for support


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