Friday, August 27th, 2021 #coronavirus #MEAACrew #MEAAEquity News
MEAA Online

Victorian and South Australian arts workers are stranded in NSW with their work cancelled or finished and no way to get home.

These arts workers are sole contractors and freelancers who travelled to NSW to earn a living on various gigs or productions while they were allowed to do so, but before their work finished up they were locked out of their home state.

Their applications to return home have been ignored or rejected without reason. They are now facing many more months of separation from their loved ones, with no job, income, or guaranteed accommodation.

Add your name to call on the Victorian and South Australian Governments to take urgent action to create a process to bring their workers home safely. >>

Performer Jasmine Vaughns travelled from Victoria to Sydney in May to be in the cast of Come From Away but shortly after the show opened she was stood down.

“I applied for an exemption to return to my home in Victoria three and a half weeks ago,” she said. “My application was denied and I am now going through the taxing process of re-applying all over again. My only reason for being here was for work, and now I have no work here.”

Performer Zelia Kitoko travelled from Victoria to Sydney in January 2021 to commence a contract with Hamilton.

“I was stood down on June 26,” she said. “My mother in Melbourne has been unwell and I am her only child and carer. I have not been able to return to her after many attempts and six weeks of waiting with minimal communication or clarity. It’s been a very invalidating and incredibly stressful experience.”

Nick Curnow travelled from South Australia to Sydney to work as a voice and accent coach on the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Triple X on June 20.

“Just over three weeks later the show was put on hold indefinitely,” he said. “Since the bureaucratic requirements to enter SA have changed, requiring not simply approval from the SA Police, but an exemption from SA Health, I have been waiting for over five weeks with absolutely no way to check on the progress of that application and no one to contact who has any further information or ability to help me.”

There are plenty more stories like these, said MEAA Equity Director Michelle Rae.

The union convened a virtual town hall meeting last week to hear from stranded performers and crew.

“We were absolutely inundated with stories of mothers separated from their children indefinitely, performers experiencing serious mental health issues, and many more facing severe financial hardship,” Ms Rae said.

“By the time our members were officially stood down from their work the borders were already shut. The Victorian and South Australian Governments can no longer ignore their stranded workers. They are willing to quarantine or do whatever it takes. Bring them home.”

Sign the petition to the Victorian and South Australian governments here. >>