Will the Prime Minister’s targeted $250 million package of funding to support cultural and creative projects and initiatives save the industry?
The arts funding is aimed at kick starting the sector with funding preferencing commercial initiatives that generate jobs and are expected to have a positive economic impact. That is, this is an economic package as opposed to creative or cultural funding.
|Seed Investment to Reactivate Productions and Tours Productions, festivals and events – including theatre, dance, community and arts and culture gatherings. Individuals are able to apply for funding.||$75m||The competitive grant is administered through the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund and provides seed funding to substitute for the capital lost as a result of cancellations and rescheduling of events. Grants range from $75,000 to $2 million. Part of the funding has been earmarked for music recovery – recording and distribution, contemporary music touring, the development of safe venue infrastructure and protocols.|
|Show Starter Loans Businesses able to generate jobs—including through the synergy between arts and entertainment and travel, tourism and hospitality.||$90m||In a move to free up capital, the Government is providing a 100% guarantee for loans through financial institutions to assist arts and entertainment businesses to fund new productions and events. Lenders will provide facilities that only have to be drawn down if needed. Loan terms will be up to five years, with an initial 12-month repayment deferral. That is, the amount drawn down will need to be paid back, but in the event the loan can’t be repaid, the bank is protected. The loans are part of the Government’s existing Coronavirus Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Guarantee Scheme.|
|Local Screen Production Local film and television productions||$50m||A Temporary Interruption Fund (TIF) for Screen Australia for local film and television producers to restart filming. See Screen Australia’s Funding and Support initiatives page The fund commences from 1 July 2020 for 12 months.|
|Sector-Significant Organisations Support significant Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations||$35m||Funding to support significant Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations facing threats to their viability due to COVID-19.|
Outside of the funding package, SupportAct received $10m in funding for COVID-19 crisis relief grants. Crisis funding is accessible to:
- musicians, crew and music workers who are unable to access Government benefits due to eligibility or other issues
- music workers who have been able to access Government benefits but are still facing financial hardship; and to
- those who are suffering financial hardship as a result of injury, ill-health or a mental health issue that is managed through a current Mental Health plan.
To be eligible, you will need to be a musician, crew or music worker, who:
- is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or have a valid working visa
- can prove they been working in the music industry for three years
- can provide names and details of two professional referees
- have household expenses greater than household income.
Other financial support is available through JobKeeper (including the self-employed) or JobSeeker.
For more details see The Office for the Arts COVID-19 update.
For many in this sector, the funding is helpful but the future will be determined by how quickly or otherwise the distancing measures are retracted. After all, most entertainment relies on a crowd.