The Berejiklian government has announced a lifeline for live music and arts organisations punished by snap lockdowns.

On Wednesday morning (July 14), New South Wales officials unveiled a $75 million stimulus package for the ailing live and performing arts industries, targeting small-medium businesses and workers “impacted by the cancellation of shows due to current COVID-19 restrictions,” a statement reads.

The financial support will be delivered in two phases – immediately and later, to help organisations reschedule dates — and is meant to help venues and the performing arts to “continue paying staff and performers, and provide support for loss of box office income where shows have been affected by Public Health Orders.”

Create NSW will administer the funds.

Sydney Nightlife has received a $1 million boost
Night time is the right time

Select not-for-profits and commercial organisations will be eligible, including those with “heavy reliance” on box office income, including businesses that were were staging, or prepping performances during the lockdown period, including “some live music venues.”

For those who meet the criteria, evidence of performances scheduled, venues and average ticket prices will be required.

The NSW cash pledge follows Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s promise to boost emergency disaster payments from $325 to $375 for who’ve lost up to 20 hours of work, and from $500 to $600 for people who have lost more than 20 hours of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, Australia’s most populous city. 

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A jointly-funded weekly payment of $1,500 and $10,000 will be made to businesses that could show a 30 per cent decline in revenue.

Late Wednesday, APRA AMCOS, ARIA and PPCA issued a joint-statement welcoming the “much-needed” COVID-19 fighting fund.

“First to be fired, last to be hired, delivering immediate Covid-19 financial assistance for artists and music industry businesses will be a critical lifeline to our industry right now as many artists, venues and events face the complete loss of income for the foreseeable future,” comments Dean Ormston, APRA AMCOS Chief Executive. “We look forward to working with both governments to ensure ongoing support is delivered where it’s needed most.”

“ARIA and PPCA wholeheartedly welcome any government support in this highly destabilising time and it is encouraging to see the cultural and economic contribution of Australian music recognised,” adds Annabelle Herd, ARIA and PPCA Chief Executive Office. “This is a great start, but as the situation continues to unfold we need to ensure adequate support is provided across all sectors of Australian music, and of course we need to find sustainable ways to reopen, rebuild and grow.”

The cash couldn’t have come at a better time.

With federal handouts ending in March, and Sydney facing the prospect of a lengthy, miserable lockdown due to the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, money is tight for performers.

Applications will be accepted from next Friday (July 23) here.

More to come.