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 Support Fund - Expansion

Due to changes to restrictions throughout the state, updates have been made to the Business Support Fund guidelines.

To support businesses impacted by restrictions, the following one-off grants will be made available to eligible businesses under the Business Support Fund – Expansion program:

  • $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of spending longer under restrictions
  • $5,000 for employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire)

Businesses in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire that have already received a Business Support Fund - Expansion grant, or have applied for one, will not need to re-apply. Successful applicants will automatically receive this additional allocation.

Applications for the program will be extended until 14 September 2020.

Apply now via the Business Victoria website.

Let’s Stay Connected Fund

The Let’s Stay Connected Fund provides grants between $5,000 and $200,000 to support community-led, community-based initiatives that build connection and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation that many Victorians are facing at this time.

Applications for the program close 31 August 2020.

Find more detail, program guidelines and application information here.

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 - Creative Space and Live Music Venues

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:

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 support production and event businesses to deliver new activity as social distancing restrictions ease, including through innovative operating and digital models. Grants from $75,000 through to $2 million will be available.

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.

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.

Support for Commonwealth-funded Organisations
$35 million to provide direct financial assistance to Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations significantly impacted by the pandemic. The Commonwealth Government will partner with the Australia Council to deliver this funding.

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.