Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Australian Government announces unlocking of arts rescue funds and venue capacity increases

Australian Government announces unlocking of arts rescue funds and venue capacity increases
November 20, 2020

Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher has today advised of a roadmap for reopening live performance industry, with live venues and events allowed to reach up to 75% capacity in states that have had 14 days with no new locally acquired Coronavirus cases. The Minister also announced that $60 million in much-delayed grants will begin to flow immediately under the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund.

In what has been called the ‘COVID normal’ of the near future, indoor events and seated outdoor events will still be ticketed only, and additional restrictions will still apply to large-scale multi-day outdoor music festivals.

Speaking at the Sydney costume workshop for the musical Hamilton, which is scheduled to open at the Lyric theatre in March, Minister Fletcher revealed than $60 million of the $75 million RISE Fund had been allocated to 115 arts organisations, commenting “the funds will start to fly almost immediately.

“The Office of the Arts within my department is engaging with individual recipients in terms of the grant agreements.”

More than 300 arts organisations had applied for the Federal Government’s emergency rescue package announced in August, with 71% of the total RISE funding will go to the small-to-medium sector, and 21% to regional areas. A total of $34 million will be awarded to not-for-profit organisations.

With states such as Queensland having already moved to 100% capacity in entertainment venues, Fletcher dismissed suggestions the roadmap should have come out weeks ago, noting “what it’s intending to do is to set a consistent framework and clearly it’s always the case that specific decisions are made by state and territory governments.

“What we’ve done as a Commonwealth Government through the National Cabinet is reached an agreed framework.”

Minister Fletcher advised that the joint announcement of the potential easing of social distancing restrictions and the pending release of the RISE funding was to place promoters, festival organisers and companies in a position to “not only know the way forward in terms of the public health requirements, but also (to ensure) getting that support so they can get their shows up and running.”

With just one in three organisations that applied for Rise funding achieving success so far, Minister Fletcher said unsuccessful applicants were welcome to reapply for the remaining $15 million, adding “there will be feedback provided to those who were not successful, they’ll certainly be free to … put in an amended application that takes account of that feedback.”

Agreed to by National Cabinet, the three-step Roadmap for reactivating live performance venues sets the standard for how the sector can operate in a COVIDSafe way, with guidance for the main types of venues, festivals and touring.

In response to COVID-19, Minister Fletcher established a Creative Economy Taskforce and a COVID 19 Arts and Health Advisory Committee, who both worked closely with the Department of Health to develop the document. The Roadmap has also been informed by extensive consultation with industry stakeholders such as the Australia Council, the Live Entertainment Industry Forum and Live Performance Australia.

Jurisdictional health experts have provided input to the Roadmap through the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. Through National Cabinet, all states and territories have agreed to release this roadmap.

All events and venues will need to comply with state and territory restrictions.

As at 10th November, around $558 million in JobKeeper payments have been received by employees working in the Creative and Performing Arts subdivision.

For more information visit

Click here to view the Roadmap for reactivating live performance venues.

Images: The musical Hamilton is scheduled to open at Sydney's Lyric theatre in March (top) and Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher (below).

About the author

Karen Sweaney

Editor, Australasian Leisure Management

Artist, geoscientist and specialist writer on the leisure industry, Karen Sweaney is Editor of Australasian Leisure Management. Based in Sydney, Australia, her specific areas of interest include the arts, entertainment, the environment, fitness, tourism and wellness.

She has degrees in Fine Arts from the University of Sydney and Geological Oceanography from UNSW.

Read more from this author

Related Articles

20th November 2020 - Pippin opening set to mark return of musical theatre to Australia

19th November 2020 - Suncorp Stadium’s State of Origin crowd gains global acclaim

19th November 2020 - South Australian COVID-19 circuit breaker sees Adelaide Festival Centre cancel all performances

19th November 2020 - QPAC announce 2021 program with spaces returning to full capacity 

18th November 2020 - Live Performance Australia releases updated Ticketing Code of Practice

16th November 2020 - Sydney Business Chamber highlights progress towards re-energising Sydney’s live music scene

13th November 2020 - Easing of Queensland Government’s Coronavirus restrictions will allow capacity crowd for Suncorp Stadium State of Origin decider

13th November 2020 - Backing councils will help Australia’s arts and cultural sector to ‘flourish’

12th November 2020 - ICC Sydney gets approval to increase patron capacity at Aware Super Theatre

10th November 2020 - Victorian Arts and Cultural centres to transform into COVIDSafe venues for festivals and events

8th November 2020 - Victoria set to enter ‘Last Step’ measures from 22nd November

6th November 2020 - Major Promoters commit to Australian Festival Association initiative to revitalise the sector

6th November 2020 - Western Australian Theatre Development Initiative backs renewed stage activity

5th November 2020 - Save Our Stages NSW calls on public to help save the state’s live music industry

30th October 2020 - More than 80% of Federal arts rescue package remains unallocated

29th October 2020 - Gold Coast welcomes the return of live music with new summer music festival

23rd October 2020 - Survey shows over 400 Australian Live Music Businesses face imminent closure

16th November 2020 - Industry operators impacted by rising insurance premiums

15th October 2020 - Sydney Opera House to reopen a number of venues and spaces

14th October 2020 - Adelaide Festival Centre reports 77 shows cancelled during Coronavirus shutdown

14th October 2020 - Live entertainment industry counts the cost of COVID

13th October 2020 - Research shows impact of COVID-19 on arts and creative sector workers’ mental health

7th October 2020 - Victorian Government delivers $7.85 million to support arts and cultural organisations

2nd October 2020 - Venues in 25 nations light up red to back #WeMakeEvents initiative

27th June 2020 - ASM Global releases operational plans for the reopening of its arenas, stadia, theatres and convention centres

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Playrope Aqua-Fun, are the Australian & New Zealand exclusive distributors for Vortex Aquatic Structures International, the world leader in aquatic playgrounds and urban water landscapes.…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Parks / Play / Recreation


Otium Planning Group

Otium Planning Group is a contemporary sport and leisure consultancy providing services in planning, facility development, management and funding for the sport, recreation and leisure industries…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues



Email for trade enquiries:  Customer support desk - Click Myzone support or go to ‘help’ on myzone app to access live support. Myzone® is the leading…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Perfect Gym

Perfect Gym Solutions is a software as a service (SaaS) solution purpose-built to service the fitness industry, with over 1000 clients servicing over 2 million gym members across 40 countries making…

read more

Access / Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Technology



SLE Worldwide Australia is a Managing General Underwriter specialising in insuring risks in the world of Sports, Leisure and Entertainment. Be it relaxing, playing, organising or watching sports,…

read more

Insurance / Venues


The P.A. People

The P.A. People is a specialist integrator and contractor in sound reinforcement, audio visual systems, performance lighting and production communications. Over its almost 50 year history the company…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Sport / Technology / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business