Singer-songwriter Alex Lahey has penned an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for financial support for the “overlooked” COVID-hit arts and entertainment sector.
The New South Wales government announced at the weekend the entire state would enter lockdown due to the spread of the virus.
On Monday, the Victorian government extended Melbourne’s lockdown for a further fortnight.
The queer muso published her open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Twitter, calling for support.
“We’ve known and acknowledged that the arts and entertainment industry would be the first to go down and the last to come back (due to Covid),” she wrote.
“Despite this awareness, very little had been done by our Federal Government to prop up this multimillion-dollar, world class commercial sector.”
Lahey said after a year and a half of uncertainty, the industry “finds itself decimated with no end in sight.”
“The demise of the arts and entertainment industry continues, coupled with a proven inadequate vaccination rollout,” she wrote.
“I want to ask the Federal Government, what is the roadmap for providing support to the entertainment sector?
“Tens of thousands of gigs are cancelled with every month that passes.
“The necessary snap lockdown strategies, in particular, bring a complete lack of ability to plan and budget for gigs and events.
“[This causes] collective mental health and confidence to continue to slip with every postponement and cancellation.”
Alex Lahey plea for government insurance scheme and wage help
Alex Lahey has called for a government-backed insurance scheme for promoters and artists, as well as a wage subsidy program.
“This will keep venues alive. It will keep performers on stage. It will also keep crews in jobs,” she wrote.
“And most importantly, it will keep our rich, vibrant and unique performance culture flowing through the veins of our country.”
Lahey explained a previously-announced federal grants program “has failed to prop up our industry”.
“The trickle-down intentions of this scheme have not come to fruition, leaving performers, crew and venues empty handed,” Lahey said.
“The industry is eating into itself, [and we run] the risk of leaving our country void of a generation’s worth of live performance talent and crew.”
Lahey said “the creative community has been stood down and overlooked.”
“But it’s time for us to stand up and call out for what we need. I hope our government will listen and come to our aid,” she wrote.
An open letter to Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP with a proposal to continue the conversation regarding a more effective and direct roadmap for support to workers in the entertainment sector who have found themselves without any foreseeable income due to continued closures pic.twitter.com/14Bd0yRbOX
— Alex Lahey (@AlexLahey) August 16, 2021
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