State and Federal Government support in response to COVID-19

NSW Government support for the arts, screen and culture sector

To support NSW’s arts, screen and cultural organisations impacted by COVID-19, the NSW Government has announced:

  • a $50 million Rescue and Restart package for NSW arts and cultural organisations to ensure the sector continues to make an important contribution to the NSW economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. More information. 
  • $1 million in digital adaptation grants of up to $5,000 for Creative Kids Providers to further support online delivery of Creative Kids programs. More information. 
  • New funding initiatives and the repurposing of existing funding totalling $6.34 million to support independent artists and small to medium arts, screen and cultural organisations impacted by COVID-19. More information.

NSW Government general response measures to help businesses, organisations and individuals

The NSW Government has announced COVID-19 economic stimulus packages that complement the Federal Government’s measures.

Initiatives announced on 17 March were valued at $2.3 billion and included $1.6 billion for tax cuts and job creation and $700 million to boost health. The second announcement on 28 March included further cuts to payroll tax and other charges. A further announcement on 3 April included grants through a small business support fund, also applicable to arts organisations and sole traders.

The following support is available:

  • Small businesses in industries highly impacted by COVID-19 are eligible to apply for a grant of up to $3000 to safely re-launch operations. Applications open 1 July via the Service NSW website.
  • Businesses with wages of over $10 million a year are eligible for a payroll tax deferral for six months.
  • Businesses with wages of up to $10 million a year are eligible for a payroll tax waiver for three months, with the option of deferring payroll tax payments for an additional three months.
  • All businesses liable for payroll tax will benefit from a reduction in the payroll tax threshold from $900,000 to $1 million in 2020/21.
  • Small businesses with payroll less than $900,000 are eligible for grants of $10,000 from the Small Business Support Fund provided they:
    • have a turnover of at least $75,000 a year and between one and 19 employees as of 1 March, 2020
    • can demonstrate a decline in turnover due to COVID-19.
      This program is open to industries that have been highly impacted by COVID-19, including arts and recreation services. Sole traders are eligible.
  • Small commercial businesses which lease government owned buildings can apply for a deferral of rent.
  • Businesses liable for the Parking Spaces Levy and have less than 20 employees are eligible for a six months deferral of the levy.

Business Concierge service

  • Service NSW provides a business ‘Concierge’ service, that can provide you with guidance if your business has been impacted by COVID-19 or NSW bushfires, by connecting you with support and advice.

Federal Government Covid-19 response measures for businesses and individuals

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 of:

  • Seed Investment to Reactivate Productions and Tours – $75 million in competitive grant funding in 2020-21 through the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund. This program will provide capital to help production and event businesses to put on new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease, including through innovative operating and digital delivery models. Grants of varying sizes will be available, from $75,000 through to $2 million.
  • Show Starter Loans – $90 million in concessional loans to assist creative economy businesses to fund 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.
  • 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 here.

Businesses who are impacted by COVID-19 can apply for the JobKeeper Payment eligible employees who were employed as of 1 March 2020. The flat rate wage subsidy is worth $1,500 a fortnight per employee and includes employees who were stood down and have been rehired.

Employers need to have a turnover of less than $1 billion and demonstrate a 30 per cent reduction in turnover compared to a comparable period last year (or a 15 per cent reduction in the case of Not for Profit organisations).

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.

Businesses wanting to access the JobSeeker Payment should register their intention via 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 which has been temporarily increased to $1,100 a fortnight.

Applications can be made online here.

Useful links

General advice and support

Mental health resources

  • An article on how to cope with COVID-19 from online arts magazine ArtsHub.
  • Support Act is a charity delivering crisis relief services to artists, crew and music workers that impacts their ability to work including mental health resources through their wellbeing helpline.
  • Free mental health webinars for Australian entertainment industry workers from Entertainment Assist.

Crisis management

  • An example of how Circa managed the crisis from online arts magazine ArtsHub.
  • Tips for small business to prepare for COVID-19 from CPA Australia.

More information

This page last updated 25 June, 2020.

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