City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has proposed a multimillion-dollar package to support the community, business and creative industries in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal, which sets aside $3.5million for the arts, will be voted on by the city council in a meeting later today (March 30).
Of the package, $2.25million will go into a new Cultural Sector Resilience Grant Program, which will support sole traders and not-for-profit organisations who rely heavily on grants and projects for income. The proposed Creative Fellowships Fund will provide up to $1million worth of funds to artists to develop works and purchase materials or equipment.
The Artists Benevolent Fund, Actors Benevolent Fund and Support Act NSW will receive direct donations from the proposed Sector-Led Crisis Support Fund, which has been allocated $250,000. Support Act was also the handpicked beneficiary of live-streamed music festival fundraiser ISOL-AID, which took place for the second time last weekend.
“Those who work in our creative, arts and entertainment industries are facing months of cancelled events, lost income and uncertainty,” Councillor Moore said in a statement.
“What we’re trying to do is support them through this period of survival, to continue creative development and make sure they’re ready for the renaissance when we’re able to move past the coronavirus.”
Arts and entertainment organisations have been calling repeatedly for greater financial relief for sector amid the pandemic. On March 28, some of Australia’s largest touring companies urged the federal government for $650million to compensate the small businesses and sole traders that will lose revenue due to cancelled events. Prior to that, on March 26, more than 100 arts organisations published an open letter calling for $2billion in relief funds.
Last week, the City of Melbourne took similar measures and made $2million worth of arts grants available.