House debates

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Arts and Entertainment Industry

3:00 pm

Photo of Tim WilsonTim Wilson (Goldstein, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts. Will the minister update the House on how the Morrison government is backing our arts sector so they can get shows back on the road and workers back into jobs?

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Goldstein. He is a very big supporter of the arts and entertainment sector. He loves a show; he loves a bit of razzle-dazzle, the member for Goldstein! And of course so many Australians love a show, and increasingly Australians have a chance to go and see our talented performers as they're treading the boards, thanks to our $75 million, to date, RISE—Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand—Fund, launched last year and right now supporting 115 productions, events, festivals, concerts and tours, such as: the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Melbourne Fringe Festival, CIRCA's Shaun the Sheep show, the Woodfordia folk festival, the Byron Bay Bluesfest, the Terrapin Puppet Theatre in Tasmania, Bluey's Big Play The Stage Show, the musicals Hamilton and Harry Potter, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, The Very Hungry Caterpillarshow, and much, much more.

But wait: there is much, much more, because we've committed another $125 million of RISE funding to get performers back on stage, to get the crews backstage doing their vital work, to get front of house—the ushers, box office—back in. We're supporting the arts and entertainment sector. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer are backing these sectors very strongly. And of course when you go and see a show it's very likely that you'll go to a bar, a cafe or a restaurant. You might even book a night at a hotel. You might even book an air ticket to fly interstate to see a big musical or a big show. So, this is about jobs—90,000 jobs in the arts and entertainment sector and across the economy. And we're changing the guidelines of the RISE program so that it will work even better for the music sector, to help them get back on their feet.

We know that when it comes to supporting our performers, supporting the music sector, supporting theatre, supporting circus, supporting opera—whatever it is—the Liberal-Nationals Morrison government is backing the arts sector. From the opposition there have been tweets of support. From this side there has been serious funding, supporting the arts sector. We know that with COVID it's been a tough 12 months for Australians. So, what better way to lift your spirits than to go and see a show featuring talented Aussie performers? Thankfully today's announcement about an additional $125 million means more jobs, more shows, more great performers like Tina Arena—the Prime Minister's favourite—and more razzle-dazzle. Let's bring it on.