The live music industry has pleaded with the government to extend support to musicians and people in the music business, with 3,500 managers, booking agents, stage crew and musicians—all the names you'd know—asking for JobKeeper or a similar scheme to continue. As APRA says, the industry remains out of work and in crisis. Not one national tour has been completed in the last year and not one festival has operated at full capacity, and that touring is the industry's major source of revenue. Efforts are being made to restart the industry locally in the Blue Mountains, but, at a moment's notice, gigs can be cancelled with a COVID outbreak, as was the pre-Christmas gig I was heading to with Richard Ortega's Kuban Firez in Katoomba.
The 'I lost my gig' survey has found that 55 per cent of respondents are thinking of leaving the sector. More than half of business owners said they'd need to close if there were no JobKeeper extension. The National Association for the Visual Arts is also appealing for support, describing reductions to JobKeeper and JobSeeker as premature and warning that it will lead to further devastating long-term job losses. The need extends to people involved in the wider entertainment sector, where organisers, suppliers of audiovisual, lighting and stage equipment, and catering producers are all missing out. The arts sector contributes $15 billion a year. The government can't abandon it. These people create our memories and tell our stories, and we need them now more than ever.