The government has released a Package for the Creative Economy of $250m. It is a very important announcement over a range performance and screen activities, building on and working with the States’ packages previously announced. In the context of a recession, any money for arts and culture is welcome. However, there is still critical work to be done as the recovery will be long with no clear time line for recovery in sight.
The package is made up of:
• $75 million for a competitive grants program to provide capital for new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease. Grants will range from $75,000 to $2 million
• $90 million in concessional loans to help fund new productions. Loans will be delivered through commercial banks with a Commonwealth guarantee
• $50 million to help film and television producers who have been unable to access insurance due to COVID-19 to secure finance and restart production
• $35 million in direct financial assistance for Commonwealth-funded organisations which are struggling to stay viable, including theatre, dance, music and circus – this will be administered in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts.
Importantly the government has also established a Creative Economy Taskforce that will work with the government and the Australia Council on future solutions to keep our industry going, including further work on the JobMaker plan for the creative economy. We are pleased that the Australia Council is at that table, and as you know, we have a close working relationship with the Australia Council and will ensure that the small to medium and independent sector’s voices continue to be heard and listened to.
After all the work that the peak bodies have been doing with the government and the Arts Minister, this announcement is welcome, and we recognise the value of the package. Having finally opened up a dialogue, we need to keep the communication open and work on the remaining gaps.
TNA is aware that there are thousands of independent artists who aren’t employed by companies and who haven’t been able to access JobKeeper because of the mix of income they receive, from casual payroll as well as contract work. This package does not target independent artists, and we have today heard how disappointed independents are that there is no relief for them yet. The stories we are hearing from artists accessing support from our 1000 x 1000 fund are heart-rending, and we know there is still more work to be done to support the independent sector in particular.
Please continue to share your situations and stories with us, as we continue to work on getting support for this sector.