Even Guy Sebastian Is Asking Scott Morrison Where TF That $250 Million Arts Package Disappeared To

Aussie star Guy Sebastian says he’s asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison‘s office to update him on the status of a $250 million arts sector support package, after it was revealed the bulk of the crisis funding is yet to be spent.

If you’re wondering why Sebastian himself is so wrapped up in this one: on top of being a performing artist, he actually appeared alongside Morrison when the PM announced the package back in June.

A Tuesday Senate Estimates hearing heard that $49.5 million of the emergency funding has been handed out since then, with those funds funnelled towards insurance costs for film projects sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But government officials confirmed that much funding for Australia’s live performance sector – which has been absolutely clobbered by the pandemic and lockdown measures – will only fly out the door from November.

Taking to Twitter last night, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young criticised the program’s administration. She also tagged Sebastian, who issued a public response to Hanson-Young’s call-out.

“I have requested an update from the PM’s office about the current and future spend with regards to the arts package,” Sebastian said.

“Once I receive the most recent information, I will pass it on.”

The singer, who in June said it would be “so incredibly hard to rebuild” Australia’s performing arts scene without assistance, said he hoped to be a “mouthpiece” for the struggling sector.

The pressure on the government didn’t end there. At today’s resumed Senate Estimates session, Hanson-Young said the administration of funds may come too late for hard-hit businesses.

She added that JobKeeper payments, which have kept arts professionals on the books during the crisis, don’t extend to many freelance and casual workers.

“I accept that JobKeeper is being very helpful for many, but not all, and come March JobKeeper is going anyway,” Hanson-Young said, telling the hearing the arts sector will be “the first to go under and the last to come out.”

Sarah Hanson-Young ft. Guy Sebastian: the most unexpected collaboration of 2020.