The Independent Cinema Association (ICA) has today called on federal and state governments to provide tax relief and immediate cashflow injections to ensure independent cinema businesses survive and 17,000 staff can be supported as the industry struggles for survival in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, ICA President Scott Seddon, has also asked for Parliament to encourage landlords, banks and utilities to provide immediate relief to help small businesses survive through the difficult months ahead.
“We are already working closely with distributors, exhibitors and suppliers to manage the long-term impact of Covid 19 but everyone is affected and more help is needed.”
“Exhibitors are facing turbulent times alongside everyone in our community”, said Mr Seddon. “Our first concern is for the health of our patrons and staff. We are following Government guidelines closely and have in place measures that help make your cinema visit a safe and comfortable one. But the reality is that some cinemas have had no choice but to close in response to the latest Government restrictions protecting the most vulnerable in our communities.”
“We are already seeing significant reductions in numbers.”
Audiences have dropped between 55 and 76 percent in the last week against the same period last year. The global situation has caused major films to be postponed or pulled from our schedules. An average week would see more than 1,600,000 Australians visit the cinema
“This will have a far reaching and significant impact on our regional economy.”
“There are 154 ICA member cinemas across Australia and they are unique community resources providing employment, entertainment, family outings and social cohesion. They are one of the few places our older citizens can go safely either together or alone and keep company with like-minded patrons enjoying a cuppa and a great film.”
The cinema industry employs tens of thousands of people in Australia and we are confident that when this crisis is over the sector will recover very quickly.
“There will be lots of people with who will be looking forward to getting back to normal and enjoying time with friends – but the majority of independent cinemas are small businesses and many are in regional areas and in order to restore those tens of thousands of jobs we firstly need to survive.”
“Independent Cinemas will need support from the government and from the banks and we welcome it urgently”, said Mr Seddon.