Australia News: Live Sector Slams Insufficient Budget Support; Gudinski Honored

The live sector slammed the Australian budget for insufficient support as it rebuilds after COVID.

Evelyn Richardson, Live Performance Australia chief executive, argued that despite the government’s A$200 million ($149.8 million) Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) lifeline, “We now face a new set of challenges as we rebuild.”

Citing further COVID impacts, including further disruption due to infection and isolation and a critical skills shortage, she called for a traineeship and retraining package; tax incentives for investment in the sector; and a Live Entertainment Events Insurance Scheme.

Ben Eltham from lobby group Fund The Arts estimated funding would fall by 19%, or A$190 million ($142.3 million) in 2023 at a time when audiences level had not returned to 2019 levels.

Calling the budget the latest in “a pattern of neglect and lack of vision for the arts by (this) government,” Paul Murphy of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance union estimated funding for regional arts, the hardest hit, would fall from A$18 million ($13.4 million) this year to A$7.5 million ($5.6 million) in 2023.

Michael Gudinski Gets Statue, Documentary

Twelve months after his death, Frontier Touring founder Michael Gudinski is lauded with a documentary and a life-size statue.

Michael Gudinski statue unveiling
Gudinski Honored: Gathered with the new statue of concert promoter Michael Gudinski are (L-R): Patrick Flannigan (chair of Melbourne & Olympic Parks); Martin Pakula (Victoria’s minister for major events); Matt Gudinski (CEO,Mushroom Group); singer Jimmy Barnes; Sue Gudinski and Victoria premier Dan Andrews.

The documentary, titled “Gudinski,” has funding from Screen Australia. Co-writer is former Rolling Stone Australia editor Toby Creswell and producers are documentary filmmakers Paul Goldman and Bethany Jones.

The funding news followed the March 24 unveiling of Gudinski’s statue outside Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, at a ceremony attended by his family and staff, singer Jimmy Barnes and premier of Victoria Dan Andrews.

Flooding Creates Festivals Havoc

The worst flooding in history in parts of regional New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland created havoc with festivals.

The sold-out Yours and Owls in Wollongong, to have drawn 30,000 on April 2-3 with Hilltop Hoods and Benee, had to cancel.

So did the inaugural all-women Wildflower at Hunter Valley’s 12,000-capacity Roche Estate with Missy Higgins and Kasey Chambers, while the national Red Hot Summer Tour postponed its Kiama Showground show to October.

Bluesfest, Tamworth Country and Parkes Elvis in late April are still staging.

“Some car parks and camping grounds did experience flash flooding but the water is subsiding quickly,” Bluesfest’s Peter Noble explained.

Falls/Splendour In The Grass promoter Secret Sounds launched Flood Aid, targeting A$1 million ($749,142) for affected communities, with a range of events with acts including Flume and Wolfmother, as well as “Where The Muddy Hell Are You” T-shirts, auctions and donation options at Ticketmaster and Moshtix agencies for all Secret Sounds and Live Nation Australian shows.