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Big News for Australian Arts

Some long awaited relief for the creative community across the ditch.

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The Australian Federal Government has announced a package of targeted funding to support the arts and entertainment industry across the Tasman recover from the impact of COVID-19 over the next 12 months.

Valued at $250M AUD, the package is structured in four streams and includes:

  • $75 million of capital funding to help production and event businesses put on new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease. These are grants of between $75,000 and $2 million are available from next month;
  • $90 million in 'show starter' concessional loans to fund new productions and events that stimulate job creation and economic activity. The loans program will be delivered through commercial banks, backed by a 100 per cent Commonwealth guarantee;
  • $35 million in direct financial assistance to support Commonwealth-funded arts organisations to get them up and working;
  • $50 million fund to assist local screen production, both film and television. It will be administered by Screen Australia.

As part of JobMaker, the guidelines on applying will be released over the coming weeks. In short, much-needed relief will flow to the entertainment, arts, film and television industries.

Show Back on the Road

In a statement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the package would help the ‘show back on the road, to get their workers back in jobs.’

‘These measures will support a broad range of jobs from performers, artists and roadies, to front of house staff and many who work behind the scenes, while assisting related parts of the broader economy, such as tourism and hospitality,’ Morrison said.

‘This package is as much about supporting the tradies who build stage sets or computer specialists who create the latest special effects, as it is about supporting actors and performers in major productions,’ the Prime Minister continued.

A ministerial taskforce – Creative Economy Taskforce – will be established to guide the implementation of these funding programs, in partnership with the Australia Council. Guidelines to be released in the coming weeks.

Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said the package would deliver jobs and give creative and cultural experiences back to Australians.

‘These sectors have been hit hard during the pandemic, and the government’s investment will play an important role in the nation’s economic recovery,’ said Fletcher in a formal statement.

Reaction from the Arts

Esther Anatolitis, Executive Director of NAVA, the peak body for visual artists, welcomes the PM’s announcement but describes it as a ‘first step’.

She said: ‘Today’s announcement offers some useful funding and investment options. Once guidelines and criteria are released, I strongly encourage all visual arts, craft and design applicants to get on the phone to our government colleagues without hesitation, and ask all the questions you need to ask to make sure you can access what’s urgently needed.’ 

Anatolitis made a call out that the sector needs to be vocal and ensure that ‘each element of this and future packages will be made available, openly and fairly, to everyone in the arts industry – artists, artsworkers, and those excluded to date such as local government and university galleries and art schools.’

She added in her statement: ‘In the wake of the shocking ABC cuts, the skyrocketing cost of humanities university education, the exclusion of local government and university galleries and art schools from all support measures, the JobKeeper eligibility restrictions on casual and migrant workers, the waiver of local TV content requirements, the ongoing efficiency dividend impacts on our national cultural institutions, and the impact of years of cuts to the Australia Council with no new funding to invest strategically through this crisis, the work of the Creative Economy Taskforce will be valued deeply by all Australians.

Anatolitis will be among sector advocates presenting to the Senate Inquiry into the Australian Government’s COVID19 Response, in hearings held on Tuesday 30 July.

This article was originally published by our friends at Artshub Australia.

Written by Gina Fairley.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

25 Jun 2020

The Big Idea Editor

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