City of Sydney passes $3.5M support package and TAS pledges $2M for cultural sector

Support packages targeted to artists, arts organisations, creative industries and the screen sector are introduced in Tasmania and Sydney.

The City of Sydney has significantly expanded the City’s relief to businesses and community impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, in particular the arts and creative industries.

At a council meeting on Monday night, City of Sydney Councillors unanimously endorsed a $47.5 million package that included three new funding initiatives to support cultural and creative organisations: $3.5 million in specifically targeted relief:

  • The Cultural Sector Resilience Grant Program, valued at $2.25 million, will provide immediate financial support to not-for-profits and sole traders who are often reliant on individual grant rounds and project based funds to maintain their minimal staff and to pay their artists. Institutions can apply for funds, including to curate creative development programs with groups of artists.
  • The Sector-Led Crisis Support Fund, valued at $250,000, will provide direct donations to existing, locally operated, online platforms Support Act NSW, the Artists Benevolent Fund and the Actors Benevolent Fund, who are raising funds to provide emergency relief and mental health support to local cultural workers in crisis.
  • The Creative Fellowships Fund, valued at $1 million, will support artists to engage in creative development of works and initiatives driven by the cultural sector, and to purchase materials and equipment. The works can be presented during or after the crisis has passed.

Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: ‘Those who work in our creative, arts and entertainment industries are facing months of cancelled events, lost income and uncertainty. We know the City of Sydney is the heart of the state’s cultural sector, and we know that sector is really hurting. Facilities are closing, and opportunities to work are rapidly diminishing. This has been a terrific shock to everyone who works in this space.’

Moore added: ‘We stand together with those who bring us so much inspiration, and who help us reflect on and understand the world we live in – especially during this crisis.’

This brings the City’s complete relief package to $72.5 million, including The Small Business Grants Program, valued at $2 million, which will support businesses with innovation and adaptation grants to modify their operating model in order to produce income, and supply products or services, to address a current or emerging demand in the market. Funds can also be used to develop online and e-commerce capabilities, undertake training and professional development and invest in capital works.

Full contents of the package are available on the City’s website.

Last week (26 March), the City of Melbourne released $2 million in grants for artists and creative organisations impacted by the COVID-19 virus.


In related news, the Tasmanian Government has announced its new COVID-19 stimulus package, assigning $1.5 million in new funding, as well as introducing operational measures of over $2 million to support the individuals and organisations leading Tasmania’s renowned cultural sector.

A formal statement said: ‘The package has been designed to specifically address the challenges facing our artists, screen practitioners and organisations.’

In addition to this funding, the Tasmanian Government’s small business emergency supports grants program of $20 million will be established for initial emergency grant payments of $2,500 to business in a variety of industries, including those in the arts sector who are suffering financial hardship. Among the initiatives are:

Arts and Screen Digital Production Fund

To support screen practitioners, artists and arts organisations whose work has been cancelled, postponed or disrupted by COVID-19. Grants of up to $10,000 for individuals and $50,000 for organisations is available to enable the arts and screen sectors to work together. This funding will help artists and arts organisations to work with Tasmanian screen professionals to make content in Tasmania for digital distribution and promotion. Applications close 4 May.

Tasmanian Contemporary Music Fund
To support Tasmanian contemporary musicians whose engagements have been cancelled due to COVID-19 to record music and music videos for digital distribution and promotion. Grants of up to $15,000 are available. Projects must take place in Tasmania and support Tasmanian musicians to work with other Tasmanian artists and production professionals. Applications close 4 May.

Additional Screen Development Fund
To assist the Tasmanian screen industry both during and after the COVID-19 restrictions, an additional $250,000 is available through the Additional Screen Development Fund. To provide an injection of funds into the Tasmanian screen industry to undertake work during the current COVID-19 emergency, additional grants are available for new projects through Screen Tasmania’s Project Development Program. To allow more people to be involved in development tasks, funding caps for the Screen Tasmania Project Development Program have been increased to $30,000 for Advanced Stage Development and Short-form Series Booster, and $20 000 for Intermediate Stage Development. Applications close 13 April.

Additional arts organisations funding
To support the arts and cultural sector in Tasmanian impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, arts organisations that are currently on a single year funding package or those in the final year of agreements under the Arts Tasmania Organisations Program will have these contracts extended for another year. This will support these 19 organisation to continue to operate through this period of disruption and plan activities in 2021. Additional competitive funding will also be made available for arts organisations that will support additional employment and cultural activity. Applications close 6 July.

Tasmania’s announcement follows QLD, SA and ACT which have all rolled out specific support packages for the arts and culture sector.

Read: States step up with funding aid as coronavirus impact spreads

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