Petition to support extending COVID-19 financial support to small business and sole traders in the arts sector

Ausdance VIC is lending its support to a petition calling on the Victorian government to open up its COVID-19 support grants to small businesses and sole traders with less than $75,00 a year turnover.

Jeremy James is a small business owner in regional Victoria and he initiated a petition on that has already received nearly over 7,000 signature after only a few days

In a conversation with Ausdance VIC, Jem asked why those on lower incomes are not eligible for the Victorian assistance. He says any business forced to close because of the lockdown should be eligible for assistance.

“I believe all small businesses should be eligible for the support from the government not just those making over 75K,” Jem says. “Why is it those who make $20K / $40K or even $50K have to suffer and struggle to make ends meet?”

As well as getting behind this petition and encouraging our members to sign and share it, Ausdance VIC is working with industry partners to lobby both the Victorian and the Commonwealth governments to increase immediate support to arts workers, dance teachers and small companies that have been forced to shutter classes, stop rehearsals and cancel performances due to the current lockdown situation.

Melbourne-based dance teacher Nikki reached out to Ausdance via email and wrote that she is unable to meet her bills due to the closure of her studio.

“Our workspaces are amongst the first to close down and the last to open back up and most of us survive on a week-to-week basis. This is how I earn a living -it is not a hobby”, Nikki said.

Katie, a dance studio operator from regional Victoria tells a similar story. She is unable to operate her business but does not qualify for assistance because her turnover is under $75,000.

“This is the 4th lockdown where I have had to continue to pay rent, my mortgage and the bills with no income,” Katie says.

Ausdance VIC is urging the state and federal governments to reconsider the eligibility guidelines for their COVID-19 assistance packages so that affected sole traders, contractors and small businesses can apply.

Please sign the petition and circulate it among your colleagues, friends and networks.