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The Federal Government Has Promised to Give the Arts Nearly $300 Million in COVID-19 Relief

The 2021-22 Budget will see $125 million dedicated to the Government's RISE fund, $20 million for independent theatres and $10 for Support Act.
By Ben Hansen
May 12, 2021
By Ben Hansen
May 12, 2021

Following 14 months of restrictions, postponements and cancellations, Australia's arts sector is in need of support. Arts institutions have struggled with capacity caps, and with restrictions on dancing and singing — as well as snap lockdowns and continued last-minute cancellations. In response, the Federal Government has announced nearly $300 million worth of financial support for the arts sector as part of the 2021–22 Budget. As announced last night, on Tuesday, May 11, the government will direct funds to the art, music and film industries through several programs across the next two years.

The Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund will receive $125.6 million over the next two years. So far, RISE has helped fund an array of the country's major COVID-era arts and entertainment events including Summer Sounds, Jurassic World by Brickman and Synthony. The fund is also helping to support upcoming cultural events like Rising Melbourne, Next Exit, Fresh Produce, Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Dark Mofo, plus some yet-to-be-announced events including a new mini festival from the team behind Laneway Festival and the return of The Tivoli's Open Season this winter. The $125 million investment is expected to help fund around 230 new projects.

Mental health and crisis relief organisation Support Act, which works with artists, crew and music workers, will receive $10 million — alongside the landmark $2.3 billion investment in mental health services included in the rest of the Budget.

Two people sitting outside the entrance to Golden Age Cinema & Bar

Golden Age Cinema, Cassandra Hannagan

The film industry is set for a boost as well, with $20 million dedicated to supporting independent cinemas, $50.8 million set to go to the local film and television sector to fund productions, and $3.3 million allocated to Ausfilm in order to continue to attract international film productions to Australia.

And, regional arts and tourism will be supported through an $11.4 million investment in the Festivals Australia's Regional Arts Fund and the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program, plus an additional $5 million towards performing arts touring through Playing Australia.

Head to the Australian Government's website for more information about the 2021–22 Federal Budget and the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand fund.

Published on May 12, 2021 by Ben Hansen
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