Assistance for Indies: COVID-19 Bulletin

In amongst the volume of information being disseminated daily across various channels, we want to make sure our members can access the information they most need.

Services Australia / Centrelink

If you have lost work directly because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement payments announced by the Federal Government being administered by Services Australia. If you are already receiving payments through Centrelink, the additional $550 per fortnight will automatically be added to your existing payments. Please note that payments will start from 27 April, and will continue for six months.

The Government also temporarily put in place expanded eligibility and qualification criteria from 25 March 2020 for JobSeeker Payment to assist:

– sole traders and self-employed people – they will be able to meet mutual obligation requirements by continuing to operate their businesses,

– permanent employees who have been stood down or lost their job,

– people caring for someone infected or in isolation as a result of contact with Coronavirus.

The following eligibility criteria have also been temporarily waived, for certain payments:

– the assets test

– the Ordinary Waiting Period (already waived until 12 June 2020)

– the Liquid Assets Waiting Period

– the Seasonal Workers Preclusion Period

– the Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period

Access to payments will also become easier with a temporary removal of the requirement for an Employment Separation Certificate, proof of rental arrangements and verification of relationship status.

If you are not already on Centrelink, you will need to link your MyGov account to Centrelink, register your intent to claim here, and await further instructions. Please do not go into the Centrelink office unless instructed to do so – remember, social distancing!

Further assistance

Announcements for support packages at state, territory and local level are gradually emerging. They are coming in the form of rent relief, isolation payments and bills subsidies depending where you are. We hope to have more information for you when there is more clarity.

Arts Wellbeing Collective

We’ve checked in with the great folk at Arts Wellbeing Collective who promote positive mental health and wellbeing across the performing arts industry. They provide free consultations with clinicians on the Support Act Wellbeing Hotline on 1800 959 500 and have some useful resources on looking after your mental health during COVID-19.

Advocacy

TNA is in daily conversation with our State and Federal government and its agencies, national peak bodies and other industry colleagues one-on-one and at relevant roundtables. Our advocacy efforts include:

– Continuing to promote the value of the small to medium and independent sectors, and urging stimulus in multiple areas, including financial assistance for the sector’s casual workers

– Advocating for flexible funding arrangements for existing grants already paid (i.e. no expectation of deliverables, allowing for the re-scoping of projects, bringing forward payments, acknowledging not everything can nor should be digital, and acknowledging the time and work needed to “un-produce” projects)

– Advocating for quick response funding with limited criteria and minimal application processes

– Encouraging companies to pay out contracts for cancelled work

We are regularly updating our Resource page and will soon be sending our next e-news with links to a whole host of arts funding news and support grants, initiatives and opportunities.