Carriageworks: COVID-19 Updates

Carriageworks Appoints Voluntary Administrators:
Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on income
5 May, 2020

Sydney, Australia: With great sadness, the Board of Carriageworks today determined that it had no choice but to appoint Voluntary Administrators to its corporate entity, Carriageworks Limited ACN 122 628 497.

Carriageworks is the largest contemporary multi-arts centre in Australia, presenting work by hundreds of artists and companies from around Australia and overseas every year. Carriageworks generates 75% of its revenue outside of government funding, primarily through on-site events and programs. The sudden cancellation or postponement of six months of activities due to restrictions on public gatherings has resulted in an irreparable loss of income. Activities that had been scheduled for this period included iconic events such as Sydney Writers’ Festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, and the design event Semi Permanent (aligned with VIVID Sydney).

“Following the earlier loss of shifts for casual staff, in early-April we stood down almost half of our core staff and asked those remaining to move to a three-day week. Focussing on essential work only we have been striving to find a way through the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown,” Carriageworks CEO Blair French said today.

“Since opening in 2007, Carriageworks has enjoyed the support of both the NSW and Federal Governments, and the generosity of its many partners and donors. During this time it has become a Sydney institution attracting one million visitors a year to the site in Redfern and up to 5000 people every Saturday to the Carriageworks Farmers Market. But with restrictions on social gatherings likely to remain in place for some time to come, the Board determined that it had no alternative but to place the company into Voluntary Administration.”

KPMG’s Phil Quinlan and Morgan Kelly have been appointed Voluntary Administrators of Carriageworks Limited. Phil Quinlan, Restructuring Services Partner, KPMG Australia said: “We will be working closely with the Carriageworks executive and its stakeholders to try and secure the future of Australia’s largest multi-arts precinct.”

“We will be exploring the possibility of a Deed of Company Arrangement to stabilise Carriageworks’ financial position and allow it to continue its important role for Australian arts and culture.  All options are on the table for consideration” Quinlan said.

“The Carriageworks Board regret that this action has had to be taken. They are mindful of the impact of this situation upon independent artists and partner companies across the performing and visual arts at a time when the effects of COVID-19 related closures have made this sector so vulnerable. The Board remain hopeful that the Carriageworks facility will be able re-open to artists and community alike once NSW emerges from the effects of the current pandemic,” Mr French said.

Ends.

 

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COVID-19 Update: Employee Strategy
9 April, 2020

Since 23 March, Carriageworks has been closed to the public.

In order for Carriageworks to weather the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic over the coming months – and preserve the Company’s future and staff’s wellbeing – Carriageworks has set out a temporary employee strategy.

We are grateful to every single person that makes up the Carriageworks team: they are all critical to the medium and long-term future of Carriageworks. The following arrangement reflects our need to respond effectively to extraordinary circumstances.

Like much of the Arts and Entertainment sector around the world, Carriageworks is prevented from operating events and delivering artistic projects due to current regulations regarding public gatherings. It is not possible for the company to continue business as usual. The result has been a significant reduction in our revenue stream. Consequently, our cost base must be urgently reduced.

To that end, effective immediately, Carriageworks is standing down almost half of its core employees for an anticipated minimum period of four months, underpinned by the Federal Government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy.

The Executive Team and remaining full-time staff will be asked to work three days a week for a minimum period of four months, underpinned by JobKeeper.

We also continue to scope and pursue potential support for our regular casual workforce.

Given the fluid and rapidly changing nature of the situation, the expected duration of this arrangement will be continually reviewed and may change. All non-essential work will be suspended. However all departments retain key points of contact who can respond to enquiries. The key focus is to ensure Carriageworks is in a financial position to relaunch public activities at the other end, maintain the heritage building and continue to engage our diverse communities and critical relationships.

As we transition to a smaller team, we greatly appreciate both the community and industry’s ongoing support and kindness. We look forward to relaunching Carriageworks and all its possibilities into a changed world, as soon as possible.

In the meantime, you can continue to help us by:

  • Supporting the future Carriageworks artistic program by Donating here.
  • Eating well and continuing to support our local famers and producers by accessing the very best seasonal produce from our Online Producer Directory here.
  • Contacting our commercial team regarding future event opportunities here.

Please take care of yourself and loved ones during the difficult weeks and months ahead by embracing good mental health and well-being measures.

Blair French
CEO, Carriageworks

 

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COVID-19 Update: Carriageworks Closed
30 March, 2020

In line with decisions made by the National Cabinet as communicated by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Carriageworks will today close to the public until further notice to help protect the health of all visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the State.

Any update to these restrictions will be communicated by the NSW Government in due course. Further official information and advice on COVID-19 for community and businesses in NSW is available at preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19.

Our primary responsibility is the health, safety and wellbeing of our audiences, staff and artists.

This is an unprecedented, ever developing situation and we will continue to monitor this crisis closely to respond quickly to changing public health circumstances and government directives. We will be providing ongoing updates on this webpage.

As the community moves towards stricter social isolation measures over the coming weeks, Carriageworks Farmers Market will be closed until further notice.  Carriageworks is committed to continuing to support our farmers and producers during this challenging time. For updates on where you can continue to access produce from your favourite stallholders, visit the Carriageworks Farmers Market web page.

The COVID-19 impact is far reaching, with catastrophic health and economic impacts on the broader Australian arts industry. Thousands of jobs are at stake and significant box office revenue will be lost as performances and exhibitions are cancelled. Please consider supporting the re-emergence of Carriageworks’ Artistic Program on the other side of this crisis. Donate now here.

We wish you well during these unchartered times and thank you for your loyalty, understanding and support. Please stay in touch with Carriageworks via the Carriageworks Journal and our social media channels for ongoing content from our artists and curatorial team.

Blair French
CEO, Carriageworks