The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) welcomes today’s announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison of a $250 million coronavirus rescue package, giving Australia’s ailing arts sector access to grants and loans that will assist them in weathering the COVID-19 crisis.
VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said; “This package is a real lifeline for Australia’s arts and culture sector who has been largely left out of the myriad of announcements to date.
“Also, many people employed in this sector, and in small businesses that provide services to this sector, have not been eligible for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper Program as the industry relies heavily on contractors.
“Today’s funding is especially welcomed in Victoria. The recent spike in infections has delivered a stutter step in the reanimation of our tourism and events sector, with the holding of the maximum 20 patron limit ceasing the reopening of many parts of the industry across the state.
“This is a sector that’s worth over $28 billion in Australia and contributes over $2 billion to Victoria’s economy. However, It’s a sector that has sadly been overlooked in all of the Federal Government’s coronavirus recovery relief programs – until today.”
Guidelines for how the grants and loans will be administered are due to be released shortly, but an allocation of $75 million in competitive grants, of amounts between $75,000 and $2 million, will be made available to provide capital funding for new festivals, concerts, tours and events.
The package also includes $90 million in concessional loans to help fund new productions, $50 million to help film and television producers secure financing and restart productions, and $35 million in direct assistance to Commonwealth-funded organisations who are struggling to stay viable.
“It was encouraging to hear the Prime Minister acknowledge the challenges faced by the events and entertainment sector over the great uncertainty it is dealing with. The varying levels of restrictions have prevented this industry from operating effectively and having no clear understanding of when borders may open inhibits its ability to attract critical interstate patronage.
“The arts and culture sector has been in hibernation well beyond other business sectors, with little or no view as to how long this might drag on.
“This reality has been a major impetus to the Federal Government’s relief package announced today, and it will bring some much-needed hope to an industry that’s been shattered by the impacts of this global pandemic,” Ms Mariani concluded.