Day of Action as Australian Artists Unite to #CreateAustraliasFuture

Sally Smart. Photograph: Rhett Hammerton. Courtesy National Association for the Visual Arts

Artists across Australia are collaborating to take part in a one-day action, taking place Tuesday 7 April, to demand that the Australian Government acts now to support the Arts and Culture Industries and #CreateAustraliasFuture.

A group of leading Australian creatives, including John Bell, Mitchell Butel, Rachael Maza, Richard Roxburgh, Sally Smart and Julie Zemiro are taking to social media to speak to the Australian public and to the government, using the hashtag #CreateAustraliasFuture. Tens of thousands are expected to participate and engage with the video content, which asks parliamentarians to listen to what industry professionals and leaders are saying about the need to act now to support the creative industries.

‘Australia’s cultural and creative sector is a $111.7bn industry: six times the size of the aviation industry, employing substantially more people than mining, and with several interdependent industries whose success relies on ours, including hospitality and tourism,’ said Jessica Machin, Executive Director of West Australian Ballet.

Despite this, the stimulus measures announced to date do not cover the majority of Australia’s 50,000 practising professional artists and 600,000 creative industry workers – due to casual working arrangements, or employer’s complex cashflows rendering them ineligible to obtain worker’s support on their employee’s behalf.

Contemporary Australian artist, Agatha Gothe-Snape explained that ‘Artists live for their work – although they are often not paid in regular or mainstream ways. We must not undervalue them at the moment their survival is most at risk; we must not exclude them when we most need them to help us make sense of the world. We must recognise that work takes many forms, acknowledge remuneration is not always direct or regular and value artists and art-workers by refining and adopting the wage subsidy to make sure that all artists, art workers and art organisations are covered.’

Parliament sits on Wednesday 8 April to debate the next stimulus legislation. Esther Anatolitis, Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), states that unless the government resolves these issues ‘The creative industry risks collapse. The industry has been united and consistent in making that clear.’

The #CreateAustraliasFuture campaign is being supported by public engagement with posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram featuring the hashtag. To participate, take a photo of yourself, or another person, holding up a sign with #CreateAustraliasFuture (NAVA have produced some signs available here). Post it to your social media platforms, with a caption explaining how you’re missing out on government support, or why Australia needs a Creative Industries package and tag Josh Frydenberg, Scott Morrison, your local MP and NAVA.

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