$250 Million Rescue Package From Australian Government Reaches Arts Sector

June 25, 2020 Updated: June 25, 2020

Australia’s Morrison government is offering a $250 million lifeline (US$172 million) to the arts and entertainment sector, as part of the latest industry COVID-19 support package.

Restrictions and social distancing requirements have cancelled shows, dried up the work of creatives, and there is little clarity on when crowds of more than 100 can gather.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this rescue package would support workers onstage as well as backstage, and also tourism and hospitality workers more broadly.

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Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference to announce a $250 million support package for the arts and cultural sectors. (Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

“This package is as much about supporting the tradies who build stage sets or computer specialists who create the latest special effects, as it is about supporting actors and performers in major productions,” Morrison said in a media release on June 25.

The government said the capital will support the hundreds of thousands of Australians who make their living in the arts industry.

“We are backing over 600,000 Australians in the cultural and creative sectors whose work contributes $112 billion to our economy,” Minister for Arts Paul Fletcher said in a statement.

The rescue package includes four key components.

The first is $75 million in grants (US$52 million) to help productions and tours return as social distancing restrictions ease.

The second is $90 million in loans (US$62 million) to fund new productions and events.

Another $50 million (US$34 million) helps local filming and production, which has been halted as insurers have stopped providing coverage for COVID-19.

A new task force will also be established, working with the government and the Australian Council to implement the JobMaker plan for the creative economy.

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Singer Guy Sebastian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre on June 25, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

Singer Guy Sebastian, who appeared alongside the prime minister as he discussed the rescue package, thanked Morrison personally.

“It’s going to really aid us to be able to fill this gap and not have the industry fall off the cliff,” Sebastian said on Thursday.

In coming weeks, the government will be announcing the guidelines for the grant and loan programs which they are rolling out over the next 12 months.