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Arts and entertainment package needs urgent increase

The Morrison Government must significantly increase the arts and entertainment industry recovery package following a return to lockdown measures in Melbourne, the Greens say.

Greens Spokesperson for the Arts Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

"The arts and entertainment industry recovery package announced by the Prime Minister late last month was never enough and came very, very late. Now with another six weeks of lockdown ahead for Melbourne, coming at a time when the industry was just starting to fire back up again, $250million isn't even going to touch the sides of what is needed.

"The PM has hinted at further support for industries hardest hit by Covid19 and in particular by the Melbourne lockdown, but he should tell Australians exactly what he will do to help them urgently.

"Scott Morrison's UK counterpart PM Boris Johnson announced on Monday a £1.57bn ($2.82bn) package for arts and entertainment there. The Morrison Government should be embarrassed by its measly $250m for the second hardest hit industry in Australia. 

"Businesses and jobs across the country are on the line. We risk losing an entire generation of artists and creatives. This isn't just about Melbourne and the impact on that city of another lockdown, the impact is being felt everywhere.

"The Senate Inquiry into the government's Covid19 response heard last week from the arts and entertainment industry that while the $250m package comprising grants and loans was welcome, it wouldn't go far enough. Witnesses also said many artists and entertainers haven't been able to access other financial support such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker.

"At the same time as the Inquiry was hearing this evidence, ABS stats were released showing the arts and recreation industry has lost four times as many payroll jobs as the construction industry, yet it has received a third of the support. The PM needs to start valuing the $112bn a year arts and entertainment industry much more than he does the male-dominated jobs in construction which have barely taken a hit in comparison.

"The Morrison Government is mistaken if it thinks the job is done when it comes to helping the arts and entertainment industry recover. The industry must be included in any further stimulus packages which the PM and Treasurer should get on with announcing before it's too late."

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