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Powderfinger's Bernard Fanning Calls Out Government’s Lack Of Support To Arts Industry

The singer said the band's comeback gig will raise money for those struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 economic fallout.
Bernard Fanning.
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Bernard Fanning.

Powderfinger’s lead singer Bernard Fanning has called out the federal government for leaving the arts industry out of its coronavirus stimulus relief package.

Fanning sat down with ABC’s News Breakfast to talk about the band’s upcoming reunion concert One Night Lonely, a gig pulled together to raise funds for those affected by COVID-19 and people left out of the government’s economic stimulus “lifeline.”

“In the music and arts industry, especially, because at the moment, there’s nothing forthcoming from the government to help people that are contractors or sole traders, he told the ABC’s Zan Rowe.

“And people from all walks of life. My neighbours and all sorts of people are going through really hard times.”

The Morrison government’s response to the economic fallout from COVID-19 involves the JobKeeper program, where the employer is expected to front $1,500 per fortnight to each staff member. The federal government will pay back the business down the track but the system leaves out contractors, non-residents, freelancers and sole traders which has left the entertainment and events industry crippled.

Powderfinger will reunite for a virtual concert May 23 to raise funds for music industry charity Support Act and mental health service Beyond Blue.

It will be the first time they’ve played together publicly in almost 10 years.

“The five of us have been meeting regularly over the past few months to organise some Odyssey Number Five anniversary releases,” the band said in a statement on Thursday.

“The idea came up of playing together again in this unusual format which we all thought would be fun.

After plenty of Zoom rehearsals, can we expect the Powderfinger classics that we all know and love?

“Just being the singer and the way that I sang in Powderfinger, I don’t tend to yell quite as much these days,” Fanning told the ABC.

“Except, you know, at my kids!”

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