Statement from Ausdance Vic in response to the Federal Government’s rescue package


Ausdance VIC welcomes the federal government’s announcement of a $250M rescue package specific to the Arts and Entertainment industry. The package is a start to enabling the arts industry to survive in the short term. It needs to go much further with a long-term view of recovery.

The $250m is made up of many parts, grants, loans, and subsidies. Ausdance VIC is very concerned that loans will place artists and arts companies at higher risk of insolvency in an untested, post-COVID landscape in an already under-funded Industry. Particularly as the re-opening of venues, the impact of social distancing, and return to operating at full capacity is still unknown.

The arts are enjoyed and wanted by millions of individuals, families, and communities across Australia. They provide artistic, creative, health and social benefits as well as contributing to tourism and the broader Australian economy equating to over 6% of the GDP. While welcoming this $250 by the Australian PM, in comparison Jacinda Arden, NZ PM announced in May, an Arts Package of $175m – equivalent to AU$163.5. The approximate population of NZ is 4.8milion and Australia 25.5million.

Given Australia’s population is about 5.3 times more than NZ surely the Australian Package should reflect that? Or are the government saying all Australian’s don’t deserve that? 

Based on the same monetary approach of the NZ Arts Package (relative to populations) the Australian Arts package would be $866.5m. Australia’s geography, scale, and infrastructure would also need to be factored in.

The Australian package represents only 20% of the arts rescue package in NZ on a per capita basis. What does this mean for the Australian people? What does this mean for the future of dance and the arts more broadly? If the rescue package only meets 20% of demand and need, how will the government decide who gets access to and to participate in the arts? Which state, which area, metro, or regional, which child will you pick? Will that really reflect the arts, cultures, and creativity of Australia? 

 Surely every Australian should have access to the arts.

The package, it’s a start, I hope it is the first step and there is more to come. Ausdance VIC also supports calls to extend Job Keeper and Job Seeker while social distancing is in place, acknowledging that no artist or arts company can operate at full or nearly full capacity while social distancing is in place.

Ausdance VIC supports the immediate expansion of Job Seeker and Job Keeper to include the thousands of casual and freelance artists who are currently ineligible for support.

We will continue to work with our many colleagues to advocate for the arts. We feed into state and federal discussions, papers, send direct feedback to government ministers. Ausdance is on the COVID19 National Arts Roundtable discussions, with the Federal government, also attended by the Australia Council for the Arts. The dance survey created by Ausdance with the Australia Council provides critical data about the loss of the dance sector. Numbers inform government, please fill it in if you have not already. 

Michelle Silby
Executive Director, Ausdance VIC and NSW