Melbourne rapper Illy has posted a brutal yet bang-on takedown of the government’s decision to let JobKeeper expire in March, a decision which will likely fuck over heaps of people working in the arts and entertainment industries.
In its most recent iteration, JobKeeper gave eligible businesses $1,000 per fortnight for fulltime employees and $650 per fortnight for part-time employees, so that people could keep their income and stay on the books at a time when work is flaky at best. It’s been a vital safety net for thousands of Aussies, even though some billionaires were able to rort the system by keeping the extra cash.
“Frankly, it’s a disgrace that very wealthy people who haven’t needed it have made fortunes off exploiting what was meant as a social safety net,” Illy wrote.
“How cooked. But that wouldn’t shit me as much if on Sunday, many people it was actually designed to keep afloat are completely fucked.”
That’s because now that JobKeeper is over, heaps of people are expected to lose their jobs. And the safety net for unemployed people – JobSeeker – has been cut to $620.80 a fortnight, or just over $44 per day, after the Coronavirus Supplement expired on April 1.
Even though much of the country is slowly getting back on track, people in the arts and entertainment industries, and live music in particular, have struggled to find any sense of stability. Just days ago, Bluesfest, one of the biggest festivals 12 months, was cancelled a day before it was supposed to open.
“Thoughts go to everyone about to really have a tough time of it for a while. Especially in the arts and entertainment industry,” Illy said.
“A little over a year ago our industry bent backwards to raise money for bushfire victims. It’s been sickening, infuriating, and now desperately sad, to see how little the people in power give a fuck about an industry that gives so much, was first to shut, and will be last to open properly.
“Hope we never forget this big, rolling ‘fuck you’.”
Illy also acknowledged the fact that whenever an artist speaks out on important shit that affects people’s everyday lives, they get shut down for being ~too political~. He pointed out that in this case, it’s actually of critical importance to the people he works with.
“I don’t think people literally not allowed to do their jobs struggling to make ends meet is political. I don’t mean the artists, I mean the people behind the scenes without whom nothing happens,” he said.
“The crews in arts and entertainment bust their asses. These aren’t bludgers or welfare rorters. And a lot of them will leave the industry because we still can’t work or tour anywhere close to properly, and they still have to keep the lights on.”
The point is: shit’s fucked. People are about to lose their livelihoods all over again because the safety nets designed to keep them afloat are being left to expire by the government.
Illy was blunt: “Donate where you can, voice your concern where you can, burn down a billionaire who profited off JobKeeper’s house where you can… actually don’t do that last one and forget I said it.”