Camaraderie during lockdown seemed to bring out the best in people, unless you ran out of toilet paper, that is. When you had to leave isolation for essentials, the streets were calm, people were refreshingly respectful. The lockdown seemed to cure road rage among other first world afflictions. Aircraft noise was non-existent. The air we breathe cleared. The environment had a holiday.
I wondered how society would have coped during lockdown without the distraction of entertainment, the arts and cultural escapes? Imagine the effect on society if creators stopped creating and the platforms that deliver those creations shutdown during the lockdown?
Under duress, the government stepped in to offer financial support to certain industries and employers. Those that work in the arts and creative industries, or casual workers and people who held insecure jobs were simply overlooked and rarely qualified for reasonable support. Many of us in the creative industry sector fell into that category that isn’t catered for in times of crisis. The widening cracks were waiting to catch us should we fail and fall.
Our industry is NOT a freeloading lightweight. Below is the boring stuff, some facts for the bean counters that puts our industry’s contribution into perspective.
The Australian creative industries sector contributes more than $111.7 billion to the national economy annually and adds over $45 billion to Australia’s GDP annually. The creative industries sector employed over 600,000 people prior to lockdown.*
To help put this in perspective, the aviation industry contributes $45.98 billion to the national economy annually and adds $18.42 billion to Australia’s GDP and employed more than 93,000 people prior to lockdown.**
The coal industry contributes $38.2 billion to the national economy annually and adds $16.12 billion to Australia’s GDP and employed 57,900 people in 2018.***
I can’t help but think about this quote, when I distil how support had been distributed during this crisis. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” ― George Orwell, Animal Farm
*Australian Industry and Skills committee. QUT Digital Media Research Centre. SGS Economics and Planning.
**Australian Industry and Skills committee.
***Australian Industry and Skills committee.