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A quarter of Australian arts workers have lost their jobs, study finds

New research shows that one in four workers in the arts, hospitality, and recreation sectors have lost jobs due to COVID-19.

The results, published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), shows total jobs in these sectors dropped by 7.5 per cent between 14 March and 18 April.

A quarter of arts workers have lost jobs

Image: Opera Australia performers, many of which have been stood down

As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirms a quarter of arts workers have lost their jobs.

The ABS previously found that between March 18 and April 4, 18.7 per cent of arts jobs and 25.6 per cent of hospitality jobs were lost.

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis states around 33.4 per cent of accommodation and food services employees are out of work. Most of these are either young or elderly.

“The new data shows that jobs in accommodation and food services worked by people aged 20-29 and people over 70 decreased the most (-40.8 per cent and -43.7 per cent),” Jarvis says.

In mid-April, the Grattan Institute anticipated more than half of hospitality, retail, education and arts workers “could lose their livelihoods.”

The Australian Greens party also suggests a million casual workers across the country are unable to receive the government’s Jobkeeper payment package. Half of these workers are under the age of 24.

In response to these results, Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy argues the government hasn’t done enough. A large portion of freelancers and sole traders in the arts are facing losses.

“It is clear that the Minister for the Arts’ statement in early April that JobKeeper would ‘keep the spotlights shining in the arts sector’ was an evidence-free statement of hope rather than fact,” Murphy says.

“The money isn’t there and our sector is being crushed by the twin forces of COVID-19 and government indifference.”

This news comes after the historic art precinct Carriageworks entered voluntary administration last week.

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May 6, 2020