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March 21, 2023

20,000 creative work opportunities cancelled

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Patti Smith who was to perform at Bluesfest is just one of the thousands of creative workers who recently lost a gig. Photo Tree Faerie.

The cancellation of the Byron Bluesfest has brought home another issue caused by the wide-spread closure of events owing to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Creative industries are reporting nearly $50m in lost income, and growing, as mass gathering bans continue to cause wide-scale job cancellations.

In less than 48-hours over $47 million worth of lost income has been reported by small-to-medium businesses and independent contractors who have had jobs cancelled across the creative industries, and this number can only get bigger.

Estimates of over 190,000 people impacted

An estimated 20,000 work opportunities have been cancelled, impacting over 190,000 people.

This large-scale job loss is creating uncertainty for many workers as they look down the barrel of several months of unemployment or dramatically reduced income.

The ilostmygig (ILMG) Australian site launched on Saturday afternoon by the Australian Music Industry Network and the Australian Festivals Association after hearing the success of it’s US counterpart.

The ilostmygig (ILMG) project is an initiative to help quantify and qualify the losses to the live performance and creative services sector as a result of first the 2019/20 Australian bushfires and now the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.

Industry-wide support for the site helped gain over 2,000 responses over the weekend, with the tally rising by the minute as more submissions come in.

A spokesperson from ILMG said the response has been quite overwhelming. ‘While the figures are astounding, and continue to rise, it’s the stories that really paint the picture of what is happening.

Workers from creative industries usually don’t have income protection

‘Many of the workers from the creative industries live contract to contract, and usually don’t have income protection insurance or significant savings.

‘Often people supplement their work with work in the hospitality industry, and that too is suffering from the impacts of the bans. So we’re seeing many people losing several streams of income, all at once, with no safety net.

‘The responses we have had over the weekend have ranged from musicians, comedians, production technicians and hospitality services, to make-up artists, tour managers, publicists and staging.

‘The ripple effect will only continue as more events, conferences, festivals and shows are cancelled in coming weeks.’

Musician Nat Bartsch told the ILMG that it’s the uncertainty that’s the hardest part. ‘Not knowing whether the gigs you have next week are possible. Not knowing if the tour you have in July is possible. Not knowing when to even reschedule things for, if you have the opportunity.

‘When will this be at its worst? When will it be better? I feel lost in an ocean of unknowns.’

Leading peak bodies are working together to develop coordinated responses and initiatives focused on supporting workers experiencing unprecedented income loss as a result of extensive event cancellations.

Key organisations to meet with government

Key organisations are meeting with the government tomorrow to discuss emergency funding support for workers and companies in our industry.

Ilostmygig.net.au continues to tally these losses and encourages any sole traders, small-medium business impacted by event cancellations to record the impact by logging jobs lost on the site.

If you or someone you know needs support, there is help available:

Support Act Helpline: 1800 959 500

Lifeline Hotline: 13 11 14 or text their helpline on 0477 13 11 14.

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