The arts sector won't be back at full capacity until the end of next year, so wage subsidies should be extended until at least March, senators have been told.
Creatives and arts executives were the stars of the COVID-19 parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday, as senior bureaucrats admitted money from the recently announced $250 million package won't flow for months.
Regional Arts Australia executive director Ros Abercrombie told the inquiry the JobKeeper wage subsidy program should be extended until at least March, and then tapered off.
She fears for the future of the industry given recent data showing it won't return to full capacity until the final quarter of 2021.
JobKeeper is due to expire in September, but the government has remained mum on its plans for the support measure.
National Association for the Visual Arts executive director Esther Anatolitis agreed JobKeeper should be extended and was critical of the government pointing the sector to the JobSeeker unemployment benefit.
Artists going on JobSeeker means they cut ties with organisations, she added.
Casuals are eligible for JobKeeper if they've been employed for more than 12 months, which Ms Anatolitis says is at odds with what success looks like for artists.
Artists and curators in high demand work for a few months at a time for different galleries.
"That mark of success is what's disadvantaging artists and arts workers," she said.
Australian Major Performing Arts Group told senators if JobKeeper isn't extended it would take decades to rebuild workforces.
Australia's arts sector has been devastated by social distancing measures brought in during the coronavirus pandemic, with venues forced to shut doors.
A roadmap out of restrictions is being developed by authorities, with many groups reiterating how important the plan is.
Screen Producers Australia chief executive Matthew Deaner is worried about the government's removal of new Australian production quotas, saying they will hurt demand.
ARIA chief executive Dan Rosen noted the importance of protecting copyright, saying there had been an explosion of live streaming during the pandemic resulting in piracy as people ripped off streams.
The government last week announced a $250 million package for the sector, made up of loans and grants.
Stephen Arnott from the communications department said guidelines were still being finalised and it would be a "reasonable timeline" until money flows.
Australian Associated Press