The alarm bells are ringing loud and clear.
The disturbing news that Australia’s largest multi-arts centre Carriageworks has entered into voluntary administration is cause for alarm across the sector and demonstrates the real risk of broad and permanent venue closures across the country unless the government provides direct support.
Performing arts centres will be central to reactivating the arts sector when audiences are permitted to gather again, however even the minor amount of support provided for the arts to date have left these venues in the cold, with the majority being ineligible for JobKeeper, stimulus payments or other sector relief funds.
Performing arts centres are some of the largest employers and economic contributors in the sector and in their communities. PAC Australia venue members alone invest over $44m per annum in arts programming, yet are having to absorb major programming losses coupled with significant monthly overheads with close to zero revenue during the enforced shut downs. There will also be investment required to reactivate their operations to ensure the health and safety of our audiences.
It should be widely recognised that these critical organisations have so far been excluded from any direct funding support. PAC Australia, along with other peak organisations, continue to call for recovery funding for performing arts centres so that they may continue to build capacity and create opportunity for artists, arts-workers and audiences across Australia.