News The show must go on: Arts sector support package worth $250 million flagged

The show must go on: Arts sector support package worth $250 million flagged

The creative arts sector will be given access to funding to survive the pandemic. Photo: AAP
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Grants and loans totalling $250 million will be available to artists and entertainers to help the creative sector survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Social distancing requirements have wreaked havoc on the arts and entertainment scene, forcing performance venues to shut their doors.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has acknowledged the sector was one of the earliest hit by coronavirus restrictions and will be one of the last to return to normal.

“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,” Mr Morrison said on Wednesday.

“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 much-anticipated package includes $75 million of grants to help productions and tours return, with funding per project ranging from $75,000 to $2 million.

It also includes measures to help screen productions and individual organisations.

A task force on the creative economy will be announced in coming weeks, to work with the government and the Australia Council on implementing the plan.

The government says some of the sector’s 645,000 workers are already receiving $100 million in support measures.

Mr Morrison will work with national cabinet to develop a timetable for the entertainment industry in regards to the lifting of restrictions, so they can plan when to reopen.

There remains no clarity on when crowds of more than 100 can gather.

Earlier, Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy said the situation was dire and many businesses would not survive the fallout.

“A generation of creative workers will be lost to the industry and our country will be poorer for that,” he told politicians.

Specific measures

  • $75 million in 2020-21 for grants of between $75,000 and $2 million to help put on festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease
  • $90 million in concessional loans for new productions and events
  • $50 million for Screen Australia to support local film and television producers to secure finance and start filming again
  • $35 million for the Australia Council for the Arts to support theatre, dance, circus, music and other organisations
  • Ministerial task force to oversee the recovery
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison to seek national cabinet support for a firm timetable on the lifting of restrictions to allow the arts and entertainment industry to plan for the future.

    Source: Prime Minister’s Office