Queensland Offers $500,000 Grant for Individual, Freelance, and Contractor Artists

June 4, 2020 Updated: June 4, 2020

The Queensland government is offering a $500,000 package to independent artists as part of a scheme aiming to keep the art industry moving amid the CCP virus pandemic.

Up to $3,000 is available to independent creative practitioners including artists, producers, designers, technicians, and other arts workers, whose work has been and continues to be impacted by closures of venues and social distancing rules.

It comes as hundreds of thousands of jobs are in jeopardy within the sector and a prediction from financial advisory service Deloitte that the sector may not return to a pre-pandemic state until 2026.

But arts ministers across the country have said that more is needed for the independent arts sector.

The national capital’s arts minister Gordon Ramsay wrote to his federal counterpart Paul Fletcher in late March, highlighting an urgent need for Commonwealth funding focused on individuals, freelance, and contractor arts rather than on organisations.

“And a specific and flexible approach by the Commonwealth to income support/welfare payments that pays attention to the unusual employment circumstances of the creative sector,” he wrote.

Similarly, Queensland arts minister Leeanne Enoch also wrote to Fletcher on a number of occasions about including arts and creative workers in the JobKeeper program.

“I am concerned about the wellbeing of so many workers, who are often engaged on short term contracts.

“Gigs have been cancelled or postponed, and so much income lost as a consequence of necessary restrictions on public gatherings, and these workers should not be excluded from JobKeeper,” Enoch said in a media release.

Based on current JobKeeper rules, major performing arts centres, festivals, and regional facilities are all deemed ineligible due to being operated by a government trust.

A snapshot of 23,000 respondents found that overwhelmingly, nine in ten plan to return to arts and culture events in the future. Nearly a quarter said they are ready to attend as soon as restrictions are lifted and 67 percent will attend when they deem the risk of transmission to be minimal.

Arts Queensland will deliver the StART grant which goes towards supporting “ideation, preparation, planning and collaboration activities focussed on future creative opportunities” during the COVID-19 recovery phase.

More information on how applicants can apply for the $3,000 grant will be available soon at www.arts.qld.gov.au.