In a major boost to the recovery and sustainability of the arts sector, the Federal Government has announced that $60 million in grants will begin to flow immediately under the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, has also released a roadmap for reactivating live performance venues and events across Australia.
In addition he has provided an update on how Government support is flowing through to the arts and creative sector as it moves into the recovery phase from COVID-19.
Investing in the restart of arts events
RISE grants of between $50,000 and almost $2 million will be allocated to 115 projects across Australia, supporting arts and entertainment sector organisations that are seeking to restart, re-imagine or create new cultural and creative activities.
The projects funded will be delivered at over 1,000 locations in all states and territories and are expected to attract a combined audience of 11 million Australians.
71 per cent of the total funding will go to small-to-medium sized organisations, and 21 per cent to organisations in regional areas, supporting our local communities and economies to restart. $34 million will flow to not-for-profit organisations and $26 million to commercial organisations and sole traders.
The RISE grants have been awarded to applicants across a wide range of art forms including music, theatre, visual arts, opera and musical theatre, circus, community arts, literature, cultural heritage and puppetry..
“The arts and entertainment sector is a big employer – and also drives jobs in sectors such as hospitality and travel. When people go to see a show they often go to a bar or restaurant as well; they may fly or drive to get to the show; they may book a hotel and stay overnight,” said Minister Fletcher.
“But as well as generating jobs and income, the RISE fund means there will be lots of shows that Australians can go and see – and that’s good news for all of us after a tough year.”
“And my message to Australia’s artists and performers, to backstage crew, to everyone in the arts and entertainment sector, is – we want you back out there doing what you do best, and RISE is going to really help that happen,” said Minister Fletcher.
Successful applicants to the RISE fund are being advised of the outcome of their applications today. Announcements of individual projects which have been funded will be made in coordination with grant recipients over coming weeks, with a full list to be published by the Office for the Arts in mid-December.
The $75 million RISE program was announced as part of the Government’s $250 million Creative Economy Support Package, and is designed to help restart activities such as festivals, concerts, tours, productions and events once it is safe to do so.
The Government called for applications in August; first-batch applications closed on 30 September; since that time there has been a careful assessment of applications to determine which would be funded.
The assessment was conducted by the Office for the Arts, informed by consultation with the Creative Economy Taskforce and the Australia Council. Based on the assessment, the Office for the Arts provided a list of recommended recipients to Minister Fletcher as the decision maker; the Minister accepted all of the recommendations.
The Government is continuing to accept applications for funding from the RISE fund, and expects to announce a further round of funding recipients early in 2021.
Paving the way for live performances to return
The Government has also released a plan to pave the way for live shows, performances and gigs to once again take centre stage – providing more certainty for the arts and entertainment sector.
Australia’s Roadmap for reactivating live performance venues has been agreed to by National Cabinet. The three-step plan in the Roadmap sets the standard for how the sector can operate in a COVIDSafe way, with guidance for the main types of venues, festivals and touring.
“The Roadmap provides a consistent, sensible and measured approach to restarting live performances, with audience and performer safety front of mind,” said Minister Fletcher.
In response to COVID-19, Minister Fletcher established a Creative Economy Taskforce and a COVID-19 Arts and Health Advisory Committee, who both worked closely with the Department of Health to develop this document.
The Roadmap has also been informed by extensive consultation with industry stakeholders such as the Australia Council, the Live Entertainment Industry Forum and Live Performance Australia.
Jurisdictional health experts have provided input to the Roadmap through the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. Through National Cabinet, all states and territories have agreed to release this roadmap.
“Our priority remains the health and safety of all Australians. This will be a living guidance document based on sound public health advice and industry knowledge, which will be updated in line with changing advice around COVID-19,” said Minister Fletcher.
All events and venues will need to comply with state and territory restrictions. For more information, visit: www.arts.gov.au for details.
Arts support update: JobKeeper and Boosting Cash Flow for Employers
As at 10 November, around $558 million in JobKeeper payments have been received by employees working in the Creative and Performing Arts subdivision. This subdivision makes up around 40,000 of the 645,000 Australians that work in our cultural and creative industries.
In July 2020, the Bureau of Communications and Arts Research found that up to 90 per cent of people in both the subsector and the broader sector had employment arrangements that meant they could be eligible for a JobKeeper payment.
Also as at 10 November, around $110 million in cash flow boost credits has been applied to around 3,200 entities in the Creative and Performing Arts subdivision.
“Our Government is committed to supporting the arts because of its economic contribution, and because it supports our Australian way of life,” said Minister Fletcher. “That is why this year we have announced almost $800 million in addition to our business-as-usual funding of around $750 million.”