With JobKeeper cliff approaching, Victorian venues issue plea for intervention

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The worst of the pandemic just might be behind us, economic forecasts are optimistic. But for Victoria’s music venues, a bitter winter awaits.

Reps from more than 100 live music venues across Victoria have signed-up to an open letter, which calls for immediate government assistance and a structured plan as the JobKeeper void approaches.

In two weeks from now, JobKeeper support payments to businesses and not-for-profits will dry up.

Without a safety net, the outlook is dire.

“Our live music venues reopened three months ago restricted to less than 30% of regular capacities, with the support of JobKeeper,” reads the open letter. “Now JobKeeper is ending, the bills are piling up, and we cannot trade out of it. We call on the Victorian Government to urgently provide a clear and balanced roadmap for easing restrictions so that the live music industry can begin to trade sustainably.”

The Corner Hotel, The Espy, The Forum and The Tote are among those joining the call for action.

The majority of venues are still “severely debt laden” from nine months in hibernation, “and have only been able to reopen at such low capacities with the support of JobKeeper,” the message continues.

The open letter also has a dig at the perceived red-carpet treatment afforded to the sports industry.

“Live music matters as much as the tennis,” reads the statement, a nod to the controversial and loss-making Australian Open tournament last month.

Melbourne has shed the shackles as Australia’s worst virus hotspot. The capital is opening up as several live music events roll out, including April Sun, a program of outdoor, COVIDSafe music events running from April 15 to May 2 at St Kilda Triangle.

It’s not all rosy for venues and their staff. “Music venues are the critical infrastructure of this industry,” the statement concludes. “If our venues disappear, the live music economy will disappear, and our cultural heritage will go with it. Australian artists will have fewer places to perform, to grow, to find fans.”

Read more here.

Link to the source article – https://theindustryobserver.thebrag.com/jobkeeper-cliff-victoria-venues-open-letter/

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