The Capitol Theatre in Sydney, one of the venues forced to close
The Capitol Theatre in Sydney, one of the venues forced to close

Arts sector gets $250m for virus kickstart

Artists and entertainers will be able to apply for a slice of a $250 million support package to help the sector recover after coronavirus restrictions wreaked havoc.

The package is made up of grants and loans, with a focus on helping tours return, local screen productions, organisations and new productions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has acknowledged the sector was one of the earliest hit by coronavirus restrictions and will be one of the last to return to normal.

He says the package will help a range of jobs throughout the sector while helping tourism and hospitality more broadly.

"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.

Arts Minister Paul Fletcher defended the time it's taken to draft up the support package.

"We think this comes at the right time to get the sector restarted," he told Nine on Thursday.

"What we now need to do is get the sector back to work so Australians can see the bands they love, see the performers they love."

The much-anticipated package includes $75 million worth of grants to help productions and tours return, with funding slices ranging from $75,000 to $2 million.

It also includes measures to help local screen productions and organisations.

A task force on the creative economy will be announced in coming weeks, working with the government and the Australia Council to implement the plan.

The grants and loans will be delivered over the next year.

The government says some of the sector's 645,000 workers are already receiving $100 million in support measures.

Social distancing requirements have played havoc with the arts and entertainment scene, forcing performance venues to shut their doors.

Mr Morrison will work with the national cabinet to develop a timetable for the entertainment industry with regard to the lifting of restrictions, so they can plan when to reopen.

There remains no clarity on when crowds of more than 100 can gather.

Originally published as Arts sector gets $250m for virus kickstart


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