Australia’s arts sector will get access to $250 million worth of grants and loans under a COVID-19 recovery package unveiled by the Federal Government.

The creative sector has been calling for more support after the coronavirus shut down venues and productions and led to widespread job losses, with many workers ineligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the grants and loans would help the entertainment, arts and screen sectors to re-build over the next 12 months.

“This package is as much about supporting the tradies who build stage sets or computer specialists who create the latest special effects, as it is about supporting actors and performers in major productions,” he said.

“Many in the sector will find a new way to operate while the current social distancing measures remain in place and while that won’t be easy, I know there’s a strong desire among all Australians to see the return of gigs, performances and events.”

The package includes:

  • $75 million for a competitive grants program to provide capital for new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease. Grants will range from $75,000 to $2 million
  • $90 million in concessional loans to help fund new productions. Loans will be delivered through commercial banks with a Commonwealth guarantee
  • $50 million to help film and television producers who have been unable to access insurance due to COVID-19 to secure finance and restart production
  • $35 million in direct financial assistance for Commonwealth-funded organisations which are struggling to stay viable, including theatre, dance, music and circus

Mr Morrison said as well as the issues around financial help, the sector was struggling with the uncertainty around when restrictions in each state and territory, as well as border closures, would lift.

“That’s why, again, I’ll be raising this with the premiers and chief ministers, being able to tell [artists] when they can fill a venue, when that can happen or how many,” he said.