Evan’s Corner: Federal Government Arts Grants

Written by: Evan Lowenstein
As a result of the pandemic and in response to industry concerns about a downturn in the arts, especially in the performing arts sector, the Federal Government announced a $250m arts rescue package and announced it with great fanfare.
It was designed to specifically assist the arts and the package was structured in four streams and included:
  • $75 million of capital funding to help production and event businesses put on new festivals, concerts, (RISE). https://arts.smartygrants.com.au/RISEProgram
  • $90 million in ‘show starter’ concessional loans to fund new productions and events that stimulate job creation and economic activity,
  • $35 million in direct financial assistance to support Commonwealth-funded arts organisations to get them up and working; https://arts.smartygrants.com.au/CASF
  • $50 million fund to assist local screen production, both film and television.

There was quite a deal of excitement upon this announcement and it was seen as a substantial commitment to the arts which has been one of the most heavily impacted sectors of the recent pandemic.
The approach was broadly welcomed by many in the arts sector but there was still a major issue with a lack of income support measures for individual practitioners.
Some of these programs now have their applications open and they will be accepted through to May 2021.
Again, whilst these grants are to be welcomed, I would seriously question the complexity of the applications, some are up to 22 pages in length; and I also question the long lead time that is now some 10 weeks after making this application.
There are requirements for Statutory Declarations to certify proof of income and expenses – all very time consuming.
And even some of the details for some grants still haven’t been released as I write.
We wait with great expectation of reports of their usefulness and urge the Government to expedite the delivery of these grants and support packages.

Creative Economy Taskforce: Arts Advisory Group

The Government has established the Creative Economy Taskforce to assist in the implementation of the Government’s $250 million JobMaker plan for the creative economy and provide strategic guidance to build the sector as Australia looks to emerge from COVID-19.
Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher MP, said the Taskforce will work in partnership with Government and the Australia Council to provide strategic guidance on:
  • implementing the JobMaker plan for the creative economy;
  • practical issues, such as managing physical distancing and travel;
  • articulating the economic and job creation contribution of the creative economy; and
  • the role of the creative economy in Australia’s recovery from COVID-19.

“The Creative Economy Taskforce will play a critical role supporting the return of Australia’s vibrant, much loved arts scene following the impacts of COVID-19,” Minister Fletcher said.