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Australian Government announces $250 million Coronavirus rescue package for the arts

Australian Government announces $250 million Coronavirus rescue package for the arts
June 24, 2020

The Federal Government has announced details of its long-awaited Coronavirus rescue package for the arts, giving the industry access to $250 million worth of grants and loans over the next 12 months.

Announcing that the grants and loans would help the entertainment, arts and screen sectors to re-build over the next 12 months, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison today advised “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.

“Many in the sector will find a new way to operate while the current social distancing measures remain in place and while that won't be easy, I know there's a strong desire among all Australians to see the return of gigs, performances and events."

Creative industries had been calling for more support after Coronavirus caused venues and productions to shut down, which led to widespread job losses, with many workers ineligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

The package includes:

• $75 million for a competitive grants program to provide capital for new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease. Grants will range from $75,000 to $2 million
• $90 million in concessional loans to help fund new productions. Loans will be delivered through commercial banks with a Commonwealth guarantee
• $50 million to help film and television producers who have been unable to access insurance due to COVID-19 to secure finance and restart production
• $35 million in direct financial assistance for Commonwealth-funded organisations which are struggling to stay viable, including theatre, dance, music and circus

A ministerial taskforce will be set up to implement the package, with guidelines for the grants and loans to be released "in coming weeks".

Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said the Prime Minister would also put a proposal to the states and territories on when businesses still being hampered by coronavirus restrictions could expect to re-open, commenting “it is very important of course that we work through the pathway for entertainment and creative sector activity to be able to recommence.

"And one of the things we're committing to is the Prime Minister will take to National Cabinet a proposal that a pathway be developed for the arts and entertainment sector so we that can provide as much clarity on that as possible."

The announcement is seen as being long overdue and is significantly less than the recently announced $688 million package aimed at boosting the housing construction sector.

Image: The Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform at the new Sydney Coliseum Theatre.

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