AWG addresses Government’s $250m Arts and Entertainment package

24 June, 2020

The Australian Writers’ Guild acknowledges the $250 million Arts and Entertainment industry package announced today by the Federal Government as a welcome reprieve for the sector. However, despite months of advocating by arts organisations, the package fails to address the needs of thousands of freelance and casual writers, directors, producers, cast and crew impacted by production shutdowns, many of whom do not qualify for JobKeeper income support.  

The Federal Government package will provide grants and loans to assist the entertainment, arts and screen sector in rebuilding over the next 12 months, including:

  • $75 million in competitive grant funding 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 and events. Loans will be delivered through commercial banks, backed by a 100 per cent Commonwealth guarantee.
  • $50 million to support film and television producers to secure finance and restart production, to be administered by Screen Australia.
  • $35 million in direct financial assistance for Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations that are struggling to stay viable, including theatre, dance, circus and music. The Government will partner with the Australia Council to deliver this funding.

The Australian Writers’ Guild and fellow arts organisations have lobbied since March for adequate income support for the Australian screen and stage industries, with a strong focus on extending JobKeeper to include the many freelance and casual arts workers who have been out of jobs since March and need urgent income support to see them through the shutdown.  

Australian Writers’ Guild President Shane Brennan said, ‘Our industry employs thousands of skilled people across different crafts and trades, many of whom have been grappling with the impacts of production shutdowns for months without any form of financial assistance. It is imperative that the Federal Government not allow these individuals to be lost to our industry at a time when Australians are enjoying more content than ever before.’  

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young today criticised the package as 'too little, very late', drawing attention to the $688 million package the Government handed out to the housing construction sector, over double the amount assigned to the arts despite the devastating impact COVID-19 has had across the industry.    

The current Government petition to support Australian arts and Entertainment workers has over 30,000 signatures and will be open until 8 July 2020.