Arts workers slapped in the face when we need them most
WE’VE just waved goodbye to the first Stay at Home Easter.
So did you read a good book? Fire up iTunes? Watch Netflix and … well, at least relax?
Many will say yes to at least one.
Art is crucial in keeping people sane in the middle of this mess.
So why is this $111 billion industry – that’s not a typo – being left hanging in the wind in Australia?
MORE GYMPIE NEWS
ABS data reveals only 47 per cent of arts and recreation businesses are still trading.
All other industries are hovering around the 90 per cent mark.
So a lot of arts workers are out of a job. They’re out of luck, too, because the nature of the work means many workers don’t meet the criteria for the major stimulus packages rolled out.
And to make it more fun the Federal Government, including Wide Bay’s Llew O’Brien, voted
down a pitch by the other parties to amend the packages so the umbrella covers these workers.
I hope this was because they have a better idea, and not political gamesmanship.
And whatever this idea is – if it exists – it better be here ASAP.
The arts industry was one of the first to sink when social distancing became a thing.
And some leaders say distancing is here to stay until a vaccine appears – something which has a timeline of 12 months to never.
Gympie won’t escape unscathed, either.
Two of our biggest drawcards – the Muster and the Heart of Gold Festival – share something in common. Care to guess what?
And don’t think the arts and workers are essential right now?
Then put the book down.
Unplug the TV, close the Youtube tab and delete iTunes. And keep them all like this until the pandemic is over.
To do otherwise would be hypocritical.