COVID-19 is having unprecedented effects on communities in Australia and around the world. The Office for the Arts understands that this is a challenging time for all Australians and we acknowledge the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the cultural and creative sector.

The Australian Government understands that this is a challenging time for all Australians and we acknowledge the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the cultural and creative sector. The Australian Government is supporting the arts sector in response to the effects of COVID-19.

2020–21 Budget Update

This year, the Government has announced around $800 million of additional support to strengthen Australia's cultural and creative sector.

This includes around $700 million of additional support to the sector in response to the pandemic, plus new support measures through the 2020–21 Federal Budget:

  • Screen Australia will receive $33 million to support the continued development and production of Australian content. This includes $30 million to support Australian film and television drama, children's and documentary productions and $3 million to cultivate quality Australian screenwriting and script development.
  • The Australian Children's Television Foundation will receive $20 million to increase support for the development, production and distribution of quality Australian children's screen content.
  • Australia's national collecting institutions will receive $31.2 million for capital works, storage and digitisation projects, and to support Trove.

What is the Government doing for the cultural and creative sector in response to COVID-19?

In recognition of the economic, social and national importance of the cultural and creative sector, the Government has provided around $700 million of additional, targeted support to the sector in response to the pandemic.

On 26 September, the Government announced $22.9 million in 2020–21 to support Australia's national cultural institutions during COVID-19. This funding will ensure services and programs continue to be delivered to the Australian people.

On 25 June, the Government announced a comprehensive COVID-19 Creative Economy Support Package totalling $250 million 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. More information on this funding opportunity is provided on the Funding and support page. If you have any questions or need further information, please email RISE@arts.gov.au, or telephone 02 6271 7971.
  • 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.
  • Temporary Interruption Fund (TIF)—$50 million for Screen Australia for a Temporary Interruption Fund to kick start local screen production. The TIF 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, who are administering the fund.
  • COVID-19 Arts Sustainability Fund—$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 theatre, dance, circus, music and other fields. The Government will partner with the Australia Council to deliver this funding. More information on this funding opportunity is provided on the Funding and support page. If you have any questions or need further information, please email SustainabilityFund@arts.gov.au, or telephone 02 6271 7695.

On 17 July, the Government announced an additional $400 million for 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 on this incentive is available on the Screen page.

These measures build on the $27 million targeted support package announced by the Government on 9 April, delivered from the Relief and Recovery Fund and providing dedicated financial support to Indigenous visual art centres, regional arts and the live music and performance industry.

  • Indigenous art centres and Indigenous art fairs supported through the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program have access to $7 million to maintain operations, support artists and their communities and enable the continued creation of artwork so income can be generated through online sales and when the crisis has passed ($3.5 million in 2019–20 and $3.5 million in 2020–21). Please refer to the Arts Industry Support Package—supporting Indigenous visual arts centres fact sheet for further information.
  • The charity, Support Act, received $10 million to provide immediate crisis relief to artists, crew and music and live performance workers who have lost employment or are experiencing hardship following the cancellation of gigs, music festivals and other performances across the country. Further information can be found on the Support Act website or refer to the Arts Industry Support Package—Support Act: crisis relief to artists, crew and music workers fact sheet.
  • Artists and arts organisations in regional Australia have access to additional funding of $10 million through the Regional Arts Fund in 2019–20 to develop new work. Please refer to the Arts Industry Support Package—crisis relief for regional arts fact sheet for further information.
  • Twelve industry experts with extensive creative sector knowledge have been appointed to the Creative Economy Taskforce. The Taskforce will assist in the implementation of the Government's $250 million creative economy support package and provide strategic guidance to build the sector as Australia looks to emerge from COVID-19. For further information, please refer to the Creative Economy Taskforce page.

A COVID-19 Arts and Health Advisory Committee has also been established to provide advice, informed by health expertise and industry-specific knowledge, to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the cultural and creative sector on how to reactivate the sector in a COVID safe way. This includes providing advice on a Roadmap and National Principles for Reactivating Live Performance Venues and Events, which offer some additional certainty and guidance for the sector on reactivating safely. The Prime Minister, through National Cabinet, requested the development of the Roadmap. The guidance documents can be accessed on the Roadmap and National Principles page and further information about the Committee is available on the Department of Health's website.

Both the Australia Council and the Office for the Arts are exercising flexibility where possible in providing reporting and other grant condition relief to organisations with existing Australian Government funding arrangements. We understand the serious impact COVID-19 is having on the delivery of arts and cultural activities, including those supported through our funding programs. We will continue to provide administrative support for funded activities. If your activity is affected, please contact your program officer who will work with you to reasonably and flexibly manage your funding agreement. Office for the Arts funding programs contact details are available on our Funding and Support page. Australia Council contact details are available on their COVID-19 support page.

Whole of economy measures

The 2020-21 Federal Budget contains a number of initiatives that are specific to the arts sector, as well as additional support for individuals and businesses that contribute to the Government's Economic Recovery Plan for Australia.

A key component of the Budget is the JobMaker Plan, which includes the following supports that may benefit businesses in the cultural and creative industries:

  • establishing a $4 billion JobMaker Hiring Credit to provide an incentive for businesses to take on additional employees aged 16 to 35
  • providing an additional $1.2 billion through the Boosting Apprenticeships Wage Subsidy to support up to 100,000 new apprentices and trainees
  • establishing a $1 billion JobTrainer Fund to support free or low-fee training places for Australians to access new skills by retraining and upskilling
  • temporary full expensing of eligible depreciable assets and temporary tax loss carry-back to support investment and jobs
  • reforms to insolvency and the provision of credit, giving Australian small businesses the best chance to succeed and keep people in work
  • investing almost $800 million in a Digital Business Plan to improve productivity, jobs and income growth by enabling businesses to take advantage of digital technologies.

Full details are available on the 2020–21 Federal Budget JobMaker Plan website.

The Government's whole of economy supports provide timely assistance to workers, households and businesses through a difficult time and have positioned the Australian economy to recover strongly:

  • assistance for businesses to keep people in a job
  • support for households including casuals, sole-traders, retirees and those on income support, and
  • regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business.

More information about the Government's whole of economy supports is available at: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.

For useful JobSeeker scenarios relating to the arts and cultural sector visit our Fact sheets and FAQs page.

The Career Transition Assistance (CTA) program assists mature job seekers aged 45 and over with training and support to improve their digital literacy, job opportunities and identifying transferrable skills. For a>more information visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

Information and support

Governments at all levels in Australia and peak arts and cultural organisations are providing regularly updated information on response packages and sector support.

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Creative Economy Taskforce

The Creative Economy Taskforce assists in the implementation of the Government’s $250 million creative economy support package and provides strategic guidance to build the sector as Australia looks to emerge from COVID-19.

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Fact sheets and FAQs

We’ve provided a range of fact sheets and answers to frequently asked questions.

Personal support

Free and confidential counselling support and advice is available for individuals in the music or performing arts industries through Support Act on 1300 731 303 or by contacting their Wellbeing Helpline on 1800 959 500. For more information visit the Support Act website.

If you are experiencing a personal crisis, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit the Lifeline website.

For any emergency medical situation call Triple Zero (000).

Contact the Office for the Arts

If you are unable to find the advice you need on our website or through one of the links provided, please email us.