Federal Government COVID-19 support for arts, screen and culture in Australia

The Australian Government COVID-19 Creative Economy Support Package

The Australian Government announced a $250 million package on 25 June 2020 to support artists and organisations to get back in business following the disruptions caused by COVID-19. The COVID-19 Creative Economy Support Package comprises:

  • The Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – $75 million in competitive grant funding in 2020–21 to provide capital to help production and event businesses to stage new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease, including through innovative operating and digital delivery models. Grants of varying sizes are available, from $75,000 through to $2 million. Fund opened on 31 August 2020 and will remain open until all funds are allocated or until 31 May 2021, whichever is sooner.
  • Show Starter Loan Scheme – $90 million in loans to assist arts and entertainment businesses adversely affected by COVID-19 to access finance for new productions and events that stimulate job creation and economic activity. The loans program will complement the RISE Fund and will be delivered through commercial banks, backed by a 100 per cent Commonwealth guarantee.
  • Kick-starting local screen production – $50 million for Screen Australia for a Temporary Interruption Fund that will support local film and television producers to secure finance and start filming again, which will support thousands of jobs in the sector. Filming of new productions has largely been halted as insurers are not providing coverage for COVID-19. The eligibility criteria, guidelines and information on how to apply are available through Screen Australia, which is administering the fund.
  • Supporting Sustainability of Sector-Significant Organisations – $35 million to provide direct financial assistance to support significant Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations facing threats to their viability due to COVID-19, which may include organisations in fields including theatre, dance, circus, music and other fields. The Government will partner with the Australia Council to deliver this funding.
  • Creative Economy Taskforce – establishment of a ministerial taskforce to partner with the Government and the Australia Council to implement the JobMaker plan for the creative economy.

Find out more here via the Australian Government website.

Location Incentive

On 17 July, the Federal Government announced the Location Incentive to attract large budget international film and television productions to Australia over the next seven years. The Location Incentive complements the Location Offset. This will establish an ongoing pipeline of work for Australia’s screen production sector. More information is available at Screen Australia.

JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments and superannuation access

Businesses that are impacted by COVID-19 can apply for the JobKeeper Payment to continue paying eligible employees or sole traders who were employed as of 1 March 2020.

On 21 July 2020, the Government announced it is extending the JobKeeper Payment until 28 March 2021. From 28 September 2020, employers need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has fallen against a comparable period, and the payment rates will be stepped-down and two tiers of payment will be introduced. The rate of the JobKeeper Payment depends on the number of hours an eligible employee works or an eligible business participant is actively engaged in the business.

Eligible employees include full time, part time and long-term casual employees and sole traders. Employees can only receive the JobKeeper Payment from one employer.

Information about the operation of the JobKeeper Payment, including how to register for it, is available on the ATO website.

Individuals who have lost their jobs but are not eligible employees under the JobKeeper scheme may be eligible for the JobSeeker Payment. The maximum payment rate each fortnight includes JobSeeker Payment and the Coronavirus Supplement. The supplement will be at a rate of $250 a fortnight until 31 December 2020.

From 1 January 2021, payment will revert to the normal JobSeeker Payment rate. Applications can be made via myGov.

Eligible Australia and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents of can apply to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation from 1 July 2020 until 31 December 2020. Details about eligibility are available on the ATO website.

Page updated 2 November 2020. Please check the relevant Australian Government websites for updates on these initiatives.

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