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Greens pitch economic stimulus package to recreate Australia

The Greens will today launch their proposal for an economic stimulus package targeted at engaging the hundreds of thousands of artists and creatives who have lost their jobs during Covid-19, and the thousands more workers who have lost their jobs due to the flow on impact on hospitality and tourism.

The plan comprises three main elements including ‘Creating Australia’s Future’ which would see artists in residence in every school and library across the country, the ‘Billion Stories Fund’ to kick start our local screen industry prioritising Australian stories and children’s content, and ‘Australia Live’ which would inject funding into Australia’s festival, music and live performance sector.

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

“The arts and entertainment industry was one of the first to be hit by social distancing restrictions, it has suffered enormously throughout the lockdown and will be one of the last to recover.

“Yet, it has also been an industry so integral to helping Australians get through this crisis. Despite the job losses, social isolation and mental health problems, this anti-arts government has failed to recognise helping the industry to survive helps us all.

“The arts and entertainment industry will be absolutely vital to our economic recovery. Not only are other industries like tourism, hospitality and accommodation all going to benefit from its revival, but the sector is primed for stimulus. The industry can go in early and hard and put money into the pockets of workers who are in great need of an income and are going to spend what they earn. Without action, we stand to lose a generation of artists.

“The Green’s Create Australia plan is jobs rich and a funding commitment of $2.3 billion makes up less than 1% of what the Government has already spent on the Covid-19 response ($320 billion).

“The Morrison Government has a golden opportunity to enhance Australia’s sovereignty and cultural identity. Artists in Residence throughout our schools and libraries will be of enormous educational benefit to students and entire communities.

“Our screen production is world class and with Hollywood all but shut down we should be seizing the opportunity to create more Australian shows and films than ever. The decision by the Federal Government to let broadcasters out of their local content requirements was a kick in the guts to an industry on its knees, the Arts Minister must make amends.

“There can be no denying our arts and entertainment industry has been there for us during times of crisis and even during COVID-19 when many artists don’t even have an income, they’ve still stepped up to keep creating and connecting with community. If we are going to restore our social fabric we need to bring people back together through live performance, when it’s safe to do so, and that is going to take funding support. But it will be worth it as the return on investment from this sector will be enormous and in more ways than one.”  

BACKGROUND

Creating Australia’s Future – Artist in Residence Program

A $300million project that would see an Artist in Residence in every school and library in the country. This would enable young artists in particular, to engage their skills while helping to mentor Australia’s youth and students. This project is focused on job creation, community development and building an enhanced appreciation for creative industries. It could of course be used to create community art projects in local areas, whether that is street art, theatre or music productions and local exhibitions.

 A Billion Stories Fund

A $1billion Australian content fund to kick start Australia’s screen industry (film, TV and documentary). Productions are job rich, from the creatives, script writers, IT, lighting and sound engineers, crews, costumes, trades people, marketing, logistics (including on location travel, hospitality etc). In particular, Australian stories and children’s content would be prioritised, vital for our cultural identity, education and local jobs. 

Australia Live

A $1billion grant fund to inject money into Australia’s festival, music and live performance sector which needs cash flow to restart. Investing in and creating incentives for the planning and delivery of events, live music and performance projects for both metropolitan and regional communities. These projects are job rich and the economic kickback is instant in the communities they occur. Local tourism, hospitality and retail also benefit greatly, of course, along with local construction jobs for those projects that require infrastructure. This fund would also be able to fund small-medium infrastructure projects for the construction and upgrade of local community concert, exhibition and studio spaces. Infrastructure that is purpose built for the creative industries, rather than just sport or conference facilities.

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