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26 March 2020

A COVID-19 support package announced by the Australia Council

A COVID-19 support package announced by the Australia Council

UPDATED 31 March - Australia Council for the Arts announces a new Resilience Fund (approximately $5M for artists and arts organisations to support their livelihoods, practice and operations) and reopens arts disability mentorships. The Council is working closely with the Office for the Arts and the Arts Minister's office to provide advice and data for policy decisions. The announcement of the Four Year Funding for Organisations Funding has been delayed due to this - more news are expected very soon.]

The Australia Council for the Arts has responded to the COVID-19 related state of emergency in the Australian arts with a support package, made possible, in part, by suspending and freeing up funds from programs not seen as a first priority in the current situation. Suspended programs include a number of grant rounds due to close within the next couple of months, including funding for arts projects and career development, Australia Council Fellowships, as well as the Contemporary Music Touring program, all with closing dates in June.

The funds will be used for new support and sector development programs to address the immediate effects of the pandemic on the arts industry. The response package also includes reporting and grant conditions relief (including bringing forward payments and modifying reporting requirements, and varying the purposes and outcomes of funding); adjustments to 4-year funding for 2021-2024; online learning series; First Nations support; sector roundtables; digital support; sector development initiatives and research and analysis to identify immediate and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on Australia's cultural sector.

With the four-year funding, the Council intends to keep as many organisations as possible funded through the critical period. More information about this will be available on 30 March 2020. Further detail on the new programs, including eligibility and opening dates for applications, will be made available in April.

Initiatives already underway include sector roundtables and digital support through a Facebook group.

The Council also urges all artists, arts practitioners, arts groups and arts organisations to look at the Government's measures to provide hardship support, including waiving the asset test and waiting periods for the Jobseeker allowance, and its new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement; and the business support measures available for small to medium-sized organisations, including payments to keep people in employment and a loan guarantee scheme.

> For further details about these and other measures, see the Australia Council website.


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