This open letter was written by Melbourne-based photographer Carly Söderström and has been published with full permission.
In March 2020, Victorian businesses were thrust into uncertainty and chaos. It was an adapt or die situation, and adapt we did with lightening speed.
We took our offices home and digitised where we could, assuring our customers it was just two weeks to flatten the curve. The reality was much worse than we could have feared. Months of losses in revenue as the bills continued to pile up. With no relief, we dipped into our savings, our super and exhausted our cash reserves, waiting for life to return to a new normal.
Today, I speak for the creative industry. We are vast and varied and we are taxpaying constituents who have been failed at every turn by the Victorian government.
We are sole traders and freelancers. And whilst we may not be deemed essential to some, our income is essential to our own survival.
When the rest of Australia was opening back up, we were thrust into another unprecedented, unrelenting stage 4 lockdown. We were told, "we’ve done this before, we are all in this together". But how can we be in this together, if for some it means Netflix and Uber Eats and for others it means defaulting on rent or payments, losing more customers and clients, and watching your business fall apart?