Victorian government announces financial support for casual arts workers stood down by crisis

Victorian government announces financial support for casual arts workers stood down by crisis

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Words by Tom Parker

With support to extend to at least the end of September.

A wage subsidy has just been announced that will support thousands of casual arts workers employed at Victorian public sector venues closed by coronavirus.

Employees of venues such as Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Recital Centre, Rod Laver Arena and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre who are ineligible for JobKeeper will be eligible for support from the government.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas announced the subsidy this morning that will see many casual workers at arts and sporting venues now be eligible for a payment of up to $1500 per fortnight before tax. This will stand until at least the end of September.

As part of this, casual workers who have been engaged for less than 12 months are eligible, as are those who hold an overseas visa.

It comes after newly-released statistics were released showing the effect of the crisis on arts workers, whereby from March 14 and April 18, there had been a 27% drop in employee jobs from the ‘arts and recreation services’ sector. This is the second hardest-hit industry, with only the ‘accommodation and food services’ seeing a greater drop (33.4%).

The Regional Director of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance Victoria & Tasmania, Adam Portelli, welcomed the announcement.

“This is a huge win for thousands of workers at public sector venues throughout Victoria who were shut out of JobKeeper,” Portelli said.

“Congratulations to the hundreds of members of MEAA and other unions who signed petitions, lobbied politicians and never gave up fighting for justice after they had been abandoned by the Federal Government. Today’s announcement  will be a great relief for casual workers who faced the prospect of losing their jobs and applying for unemployment benefits to tide them over during winter.”

With this announced, it will be interesting to see where the government turns its attention next as there are still sectors of the arts industry hurting.

Find out more about the announcement via the MEAA website.

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