Arts Ministers meet on coronavirus impact

Australia's State and Federal arts ministers have met today on how to limit the impact of the coronavirus on the arts. ArtsHub has received a communique from the event.
Arts Ministers meet on coronavirus impact Image shutterstock.
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George Dunford

Thursday 19 March, 2020

Earlier today arts ministers from every Australian state and the Federal Government met to discuss how the creative industries could survive what they called 'the unprecedented and evolving COVID-19 situation'. ArtsHub has received a communique from that meeting (published in full below).

The communiqué acknowledged that the arts 'plays such an integral economic and social role in the life of our nation, and will be critical to the health and wellbeing of people both during this immediate crisis, and into the recovery period'. They also saw the 'devastating effects of live performance cancellations for artists, producers, directors, roadies and many others who rely on the sector for work, and who are often casual employees and sole traders.'

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This echoes the sentiments expressed earlier this week from the meeting of arts industry leaders with the Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts. While no action has come out of this meeting, the ministers agreed to 'reconvene to further discuss cash flow issues and grant arrangements, consider the role of creative development and digital capability'.

Some arts organisations have already begun using digital channels such as Melbourne Symphony Orchestra who have livestreamed their performances via YouTube, but smaller organisations putting their shows and content online may prove too costly.

At the time of writing only Queensland had announced any support for artists with an $8 million package including rent relief for tenants and 12-months extension of current funding. Other states are likely to announce their support for the arts in the next few days and we'll update you as the story emerges.

Attendees

Australian Government: the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts
South Australia: The Hon Steven Marshall MP, Premier
Australian Capital Territory: Mr Gordon Ramsay MLA, Minister for the Arts, Creative Industries and Cultural Events
New South Wales: The Hon Don Harwin MLC, Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, Aboriginal Affairs, and the Arts
Northern Territory: the Hon Lauren Moss, Minister for the Arts
Queensland: The Hon Leeanne Enoch MP, Minister for the Arts
Tasmania: The Hon Elise Archer MP, Minister for the Arts
Victoria: Mr Martin Foley MP, Minister for Creative Industries
Western Australia: The Hon David Templeman MLA, Minister for Local Government, Heritage, Culture and the Arts

The Communiqué (in full)

A meeting of Arts and Cultural Ministers was held by teleconference today, Thursday 19 March 2020.

Commonwealth and State and Territory creative and cultural Ministers today discussed the unprecedented and evolving COVID 19 situation and its effect on the creative and cultural sector, which plays such an integral economic and social role in the life of our nation, and will be critical to the health and wellbeing of people both during this immediate crisis, and into the recovery period.

Examples of the impact of necessary restrictions on mass gatherings and social distancing measures on the creative and cultural sector were shared between all Ministers. They acknowledged the devastating effects of live performance cancellations for artists, producers, directors, roadies and many others who rely on the sector for work, and who are often casual employees and sole traders.

Ministers discussed the importance of working together on responses to this issue. They agreed to reconvene to further discuss cash flow issues and grant arrangements, consider the role of creative development and digital capability to help sustain the sector, and to continue to work together for the benefit of the sector during this once-in-a-generation event.

About the author

George Dunford is Content Director at ArtsHub and screenhub. He has written for Meanjin, The Big Issue, Lonely Planet, The Good Food Guide and others. He has worked in digital leadership roles in the cultural sector for more than 10 years including at the National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia and the Wheeler Centre.
Twitter: @Hack_packer
Instagram: george.dunford
LinkedIn: george-dunford