Voters in Eden-Monaro want more support for the arts sector, new polling shows, as pressure ramps up on the Morrison government to extend the industry a lifeline.
An Australia Institute survey of 643 residents in the ultra-marginal electorate showed almost 58 per cent either supported or strongly supported a government package for the arts and entertainment industry.
Support was strongest among Labor and Greens voters - 77.4 per cent of Labor and 76.5 per cent of Greens voters either supported or strongly supported a package.
However there was a measure of support among Coalition voters - 43.9 per cent of Liberal voters and 38.4 per cent of Nationals voters either supported or strongly supported a package.
Opposition to a funding lifeline was strongest among Shooters Farmers and Fishers party voters, with 45.3 per cent either opposing or strongly opposing a package.
Critically 57.7 per cent of undecided voters either supported or strongly supported an arts pachage.
There are nearly 1000 people employed in the arts and entertainment sector in the electorate of Eden-Monaro, which is currently the subject of an intense byelection.
More people are employed in the arts and entertainment industry in Eden-Monaro than in the electorate of Richmond on the NSW north coast, which includes the artistic hub of Byron Bay.
The arts sector has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus restrictions, with music venues, festivals, art galleries and theatres all shutting their doors due to social distancing requirements.
"Many workers in this sector are casual and survive on short term contracts, so have been ineligible for the federal government's JobKeeper payment," Australia Institute research director Roderick Campbell said.
Eden-Monaro is home to many nationally and internationally significant events and venues including the Bermagui Four Winds Festival, Eurobodalla Shire's River of Art festival, Perisher Peak music festival, Thredbo Blues Festival, the National Busking Championships at Cooma and The Q performing arts centre in Queanbeyan.
"With the strength of the arts and entertainment sector in Eden-Monaro, public support for government assistance is strong in the electorate," Mr Campbell said.
The area also employs many people who directly rely on the arts and entertainment industries.
Around 5574 people worked in the accommodation, transport and hospitality sectors in Eden-Monaro last census, accounting for 8.4 per cent of the workforce.
The arts and entertainment sector called for an $850 million rescue package in March, to prevent the industry collapsing during the coronavirus pandemic.