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Your insight please! Inquiry into the NSW Government’s management of COVID-19.

Dear NSW Members,

RE: TNA and TNN giving evidence at the Inquiry into the NSW Government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your insight is needed.

We are writing to you to seek your urgent insight into how the NSW Government has managed the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent restrictions, with regard to the performing arts. Read about the Inquiry here.

We have been invited to give evidence on Friday and will be attending as Theatre Network Australia and Theatre Network NSW together.

The terms of reference are very broad, but we will be focussing on the level to which the government has supported the performing arts sector across the state, through grant programs, information and any other initiatives.

We will draw on outcomes from two recent sector reports, and we are seeking additional evidence from you via a simple online form. If you can give us 5-10 minutes of your time before this Wednesday at midday, please click here.

The existing surveys we will also draw on to prepare our evidence are:

Theatre Network NSW submitted a joint response to a separate inquiry: Inquiry into the integrity, efficacy and value for money of NSW Government grant programs (with Regional Arts NSW, Ausdance NSW and Music NSW). Out of 86 responses, 46.51% of respondents stated that their overall experience of NSW Government Grant Programs was negative, 17.44% of respondents had positive experiences and 29.07% were ambivalent. There is overwhelming concern amongst the sector about funding decisions. 80.23% of respondents believe that current decision-making processes are not transparent. The key issue raised was political interference and Ministerial oversight, raising concerns about the viability of the peer assessment process. You can read the full submission here.

Theatre Network Australia recently conducted its second survey into the working trends of independent artists and arts workers, and added questions about the impact of COVID-19 on their practices. An analysis of the NSW responses (48 out of 283 total) shows that 52% of NSW independents lost work outside their creative practice because of COVID-19, and from an average of 8 creative projects planned for 2020, only 2.5 on average are going ahead in some form. A staggering 68% of projects are no longer going ahead.

55% of NSW respondents are financially worse off now, due to the impacts of COVID-19, compared to 49% of Victorian respondents and 50% of the overall respondents.

Due to COVID-19, outside of their creative practice, 87.5% of NSW respondents participated less or the same in the arts community compared to 78% of the overall.

You can read the interim NSW respondents report here (full report due later this year).

Please take 5-10 minutes before this Wednesday at midday to fill in this simple online form: please click here.

Nicole Beyer, TNA and Katrina Douglas, TNN

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