Support available for individuals in the creative industries

The Commonwealth Government and the Victorian Government have announced support for people and businesses whose livelihoods have been impacted as a result of coronavirus including those working in the creative industries.

The Business Victoria hotline (13 22 15) has been set up to support businesses, including not-for-profits and sole traders, to navigate and access the Federal and Victorian Government business support programs.

Various Victorian local government councils also offer support for local businesses and residents.

Victorian Government

Business Survival and Adaptation Package – $3 billion to support Victorian businesses

The Victorian Government has announced a $3 billion package to help businesses impacted by ongoing by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and prepare for COVID Normal business.

The package includes initiatives that support Business Survival, Adaptation and Waivers and Deferrals and will be available to creative industries businesses.

To be informed when applications for programs open, please subscribe to the Business Victoria Update.

Business Survival grants

Updated and new grants programs include but are not limited to:

Third round of the Business Support Fund

The third round of the Business Support Fund offers grants of up to $20,000 for business with a payroll of up to $10 million, providing direct financial support to businesses impacted by the continuing restrictions in Victoria. This includes businesses in the creative industries.

Grants may be used to assist the business on:

  • meeting business costs, including utilities, salaries or rent;
  • seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning;
  • developing the business through marketing and communications activities; or
  • any other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

Applications are now open and will remain open until funds are exhausted or until 11.59pm on 23 November 2020 (whichever is earlier). View program details, eligibility and apply now.

Sole Trader Support Fund

The Victorian Government’s Sole Trader Support Fund will help eligible non-employing businesses in sectors that continue to be affected by the current restrictions.

The fund will provide grants of $3,000 to eligible sole traders including those working in creative industries such as media and film production, creative studios and entertainment.

To be eligible for a grant from this program, applicants must:

  • be a non-employing business operating in Victoria
  • operate from a commercial premises or location
  • hold a valid ABN
  • be a current participant in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper payment scheme
  • operate in an industry sector that has been heavily restricted or closed as a result of continued restrictions
  • have not received a Business Support Fund grant.

The Sole Trader Support Fund will be open for applications until the funds are exhausted or 11.59 pm on 23 November 2020, whichever is earlier.

View program details, eligibility and apply now.

For more information about business support initiatives, go to

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

The fund will offer grants of up to $30,000 for licensed pubs, clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants and reception centres, based on their venue capacity and location. A full list of the eligibility criteria for a grant will be published here when applications open.

Business Adaptation initiatives

The package also provides additional funding, tools and resources to help businesses adapt and prepare for reopening under COVID Normal settings.

Initiatives include but are not limited to:

  • A voucher program to assist sole traders and small businesses in building their digital capability – details available soon.
  • The expansion of the ‘Click for Vic’ campaign to encourage more Victorians to support local businesses – details available soon

Waivers and deferrals

The Government is also providing $1.8 billion in tax and cashflow support. Initiatives include but are not limited to:

  • Payroll tax deferrals for the full 2020-21 financial year
  • Bringing forward the 50% stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property for all of Regional Victoria.
  • Liquor license fee waivers for 2021
  • Waivers to Vacant Residential Land Tax for vacancies in 2020.

For more information about the package visit or call 13 22 15.

Melbourne City Recovery Fund

The Victorian Government has announced a $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund, a new initiative to be delivered in partnership with the City of Melbourne. The fund will assist businesses in the CBD to move service and activities outside. This will include:

  • Grants for city businesses to purchase equipment and make adjustments to allow for the better flow of patrons.
  • Support for COVIDSafe events and cultural activities to attract visitors back to the CBD when it’s safe to do so.
  • Funding for physical improvements to the CBD streetscape (wider footpaths, bollards and street planter boxes).

Details on the Melbourne City Recovery Fund will be available soon. For more information about business support initiatives, go to

Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package

The Victorian Government has announced a package that delivers support to the hospitality and entertainment industries. The package will help businesses and councils move service outside, and support COVIDSafe activities. It includes:

  • Grants of up to $5,000 to help licensed and unlicensed hospitality venues offer outdoor service (includes restaurants, takeaway food businesses, pubs, taverns, bars and clubs with a payroll of less than $3 million).
  • Funding for local councils to help them implement swift and streamlined permit, enforcement and monitoring processes to support expanded outdoor dining.

Details on the Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package will be available soon. Find more information about business support initiatives.

Working For Victoria

A program to help workers who have lost their jobs due to coronavirus find new short term or casual opportunities. Job seekers can register, create a profile and be matched with jobs suited to their skills and experience. The program can also assist with skills development or help people obtain immediate accreditation to commence work.

You can register here.

Worker support payments

The Victorian Government is providing one-off payments to financially support Victorian workers, including parents and guardians, who are required to self-isolate or quarantine due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

A one-off $300 payment to is available to support Victorian workers, including parents and guardians, who are required to self-isolate while they wait for the results of their coronavirus (COVID-19) test and do not have access to sick leave.

A one-off $1500 payment is available to support Victorian workers who:

  • Have been instructed by the Department of Health and Human Services to self-isolate or quarantine at home because they are either diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or are a close contact of a confirmed case.
  • Have been instructed by the Department of Health and Human Services that their child aged under 16 needs to self-isolate or quarantine at home because they are either diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or are a close contact of a confirmed case.

For information on the support available and to register your interest, visit the DHHS website.

Emergency relief packages for those in mandatory self-isolation

For anyone in mandatory self-isolation with no access to food or essential supplies, the Victorian Government is providing emergency relief packages. These can be accessed by calling Victoria’s dedicated coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. The hotline can also refer you to other support services if needed.

Local Government

Many Victorian councils have responded to the impacts of coronavirus by offering a range of support to local businesses, from mentoring to rent and fee relief to grants. Find your council to see what support they may have on offer.

Here are some councils offering specific support to creative and cultural practitioners, businesses and organisations. If we’ve missed an initiative that is helping the creative industries in your council, please get in touch and tell us about it.

Glen Eira
Hobson’s Bay
Yarra - Community
Yarra – Stimulate Creative Grants
Yarra – Room to Create

Commonwealth Government

Regional Arts Fund Recovery Boost

The Recovery Boost is part of the Commonwealth Government’s 2020 Relief and Recovery Fund. The program offers support to regional artists and arts organisations who have been heavily impacted by COVID-19.

Three streams of funding are available:

  1. Relief (up to $5,000): assistance for regional artists, arts organisations and communities to meet their immediate needs e.g. asset purchase, support for creative practice (including research and development), small projects, and professional development opportunities.

    Applications are open for ongoing assessment and will close 30 September 2020.

  2. Recovery (up to $30,000): supporting medium-term recovery needs of regional artists, arts organisations and communities. Projects should focus on activities that assist in recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 such as creative recovery projects, training, operational recovery plans, asset purchase ($5,000), and the development of risk plans and emergency operating procedures and responses.

    Applications are open for a single competitive funding round that closes 1 November 2020.

  3. Renewal (up to $125,000 over three years, invitation only): providing up to three years of funding to support strategic projects that have strong partnerships and long term outcomes.

Applications are by invitation only and further updates will be shared in late 2020.

JobSeeker Payment (income support for individuals) 

JobSeeker offers fortnightly income support payments through Centrelink, including a coronavirus supplement.

From 25 September, there will be some changes to the coronavirus supplement and eligibility. Details are available via Services Australia.

ArtsHub has published a guide to navigating Centrelink as a sole trader.

JobKeeper Payment

The JobKeeper Payment is a wage subsidy program to help coronavirus impacted businesses (including not-for-profits) cover the cost of their employees’ wages.

Through the scheme, eligible organisations will receive $1,500 per fortnight per employee until 27 September 2020.

The Commonwealth Government has announced an extension to the program with some changes, including:

  • From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 the fortnightly payment will be $1200.
  • From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 the fortnightly payment will be $1000.

Full details about the extension and changes.

JobKeeper is administered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The Business Victoria hotline (13 22 15) is also available to provide advice on how to register for this program.

Australia Council

Information on current Australia Council arts funding opportunities.

COVID-19 Creative Economy Support Package

The Commonwealth Government announced the $250 million COVID-19 Creative Economy Support package for artists and organisations on 25 June 2020.

The package comprises the following:

Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund

The Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund is open to eligible Australian arts and entertainment businesses to fund new events, activities and productions. Activity must take place in Australia.

Grants from $75,000 through to $2 million are available to support activities and events including:

  • cultural and creative events or activities, including innovative ways to deliver performances;
  • exhibitions, tours and online delivery;
  • cultural and creative programming and promotion;
  • festivals;
  • purchasing or leasing essential equipment for events, such as sound or lighting equipment;
  • development of COVID-safe infrastructure and protocols;
  • community outreach activities such as workshops;
  • capacity-building activities that link to the objectives and outcomes of the program, supporting; and
  • support an organisation to build long-term financial sustainability.

Applications for the program open on Monday 31 August 2020 and will close on Monday 31 May 2021.

View program guidelines, eligibility and application details.

Show Starter Loans
$90 million in concessional loans to assist creative businesses to fund new productions and events. The loans program will complement the RISE Fund and will be delivered through commercial banks, ;supported with a Commonwealth guarantee.

Screen Production
Screen Australia's Temporary Interruption Fund provides insurance coverage to productions for specific events relating to COVID-19 that occur during the last two weeks of pre-production and the period of principal photography.

It is open to feature films, drama series, documentary series or single episode programs, entertainment or reality series that meet Screen Australia’s eligibility criteria.

Applications are now open and will close on 28 May 2021. Find out more at Screen Australia.

COVID-19 Arts Sustainability Fund

The COVID-19 Arts Sustainability Fund provides direct financial assistance to Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations (receiving multi-year funding), that have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. The Commonwealth Government is partnering with the Australia Council to deliver this funding.

Applications must address all of the following assessment criteria:

  1. Risk of insolvency as a result of COVID-19
  2. Likelihood of ongoing viability, if grant is provided
  3. Significance and contribution to the Australian arts ecology

The Fund will open for applications on 31 August 2020 and will remain open until all funds are allocated or until 31 May 2021, whichever is sooner.

View program guidelines, eligibility and application details.

Creative Economy Taskforce
A ministerial taskforce will be established to partner with the Government and the Australia Council to implement the JobMaker plan.

More information on the Taskforce.

Location Incentive Program for film and television

The Commonwealth Government has announced an additional $400 million to the existing Location Incentive Program. This program is designed to attract international film and television productions to Australia through offset measures. The program will be extended until 2026–27.

More information on this program.