Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, will convene the roundtable and says the government understands the serious impacts that COVID-19 will have on the nation’s cultural and creative sector.
“Live performance events were attended by more than 26 million Australians in 2018, generating more than $2 billion in ticket revenues, part of the $112 billion arts contribution to the economy each year,” Fletcher said.
“More than 80% of Australians attend arts events each year; 40% of international tourists attend arts events; and more than 600,000 Australians are employed in the sector.
The roundtable follows whole of economy measures announced last week in the government’s $17.6 billion package, including cash flow assistance for small and medium businesses to support them continuing to pay employees, up to a maximum of $25,000, and available to eligible small and medium arts businesses.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the newly-formed National Cabinet also recently announced that states and territories will put in place arrangements under state legislation to prevent non-essential static gatherings of more than 500 people.
This decision was taken on the advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the arts sector has been seeking a clear directive from governments to maximise the prospects for organisers of arts and cultural events to claim under their insurance cover for cancelled events.
The government has also announced the creation of a new Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit in Treasury to build on existing efforts to support confidence, employment and business continuity. The role of the Unit is to engage with peak business groups on systemic issues relating to Coronavirus to ensure these are being addressed by government.