House debates

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Statements by Members


1:33 pm

Photo of Josh BurnsJosh Burns (Macnamara, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I couldn't disagree more with the previous speaker, the member for Fairfax! Our creative industries are more than just entertainment. They are a massive industry that employs up to 600,000 Australians and make up to 6.4 per cent of our national GDP. Our artists tell our Australian stories, and in times like this Australian stories must be told. They reflect our national experience and they tell the experiences that all Australians are going through at this time.

I'm proud to represent Southbank, St Kilda, South Melbourne and so many other homes to our creative industries in my electorate. But our Australian artists are doing it really tough. They're being left behind by a federal government who, at a time when it should be supporting industry, has decided to leave artists off the JobKeeper program. To make matters worse, they cut funding in 2014 to the Australia Council and still haven't put that funding back. To make matters worse, during a national pandemic, the federal government has decided to cut the quotas for screen television documentaries, dramas and children's programming—during the coronavirus—for Australian programs. They are taking away Australian voices and Australian jobs.

This is a pandemic where we need to bring people with us, and it is a pandemic during which we need to be telling Australian stories. Our artists were lining up and helping our bushfire communities to fundraise as soon as that crisis hit, and now our artists are facing their own crisis and this government is leaving them behind. We need their stories and we need to protect their jobs.