Victorian Government announces extra $32million in relief for arts sector

Including $6million to aid live entertainment workers

The Victorian Government has announced an additional $26million in financial stimulus for the state’s premier arts organisations, and $6million to support workers in the live entertainment sector.

The $26million package will be directed toward agencies including Geelong Arts Centre, Museums Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Recital Centre. In a statement, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said the funding was necessary to “safeguarding jobs in the $31billion creative industries economy”.

“Victoria has the best galleries, museums and performance venues in the country – and one of the best live music scenes anywhere in the world,” he said.

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In a press conference held earlier today (May 13), Foley elaborated on the $6million live entertainment sector package, saying $4million would be directed toward industry workers to develop, record and market new material. The remaining $2million will be added to the Sustaining Creative Workers fund, which was announced in late April as part of a $16.8million stimulus package and has already been oversubscribed.

“Over 70,000 live music gigs were undertaken in Victoria in the last year and we want to make sure that we’re in a position when the COVID crisis passes, subject to changes associated with social distancing and other measures, that we’re supporting those live music creators in a whole series of ways,” Foley said.

When asked about arts organisations reopening in line with the Federal Government’s three-phase program, Foley said there will not be “one start or finish line” and it’s too soon for venues to decide when they’ll reopen.

“It would be too early to say that individual state cultural agencies or individual galleries, theatres et cetera are in a position to make that call just yet,” he said.

“We’ll be in a position to reviews this… once we see where are at the end of May. That isn’t to say come June we’ll be hitting the go button.”

Victoria is proudly the creative state – but our workers and cultural institutions are doing it tough and they need our…

Posted by Martin Foley MP on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

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The new round of funding follows the government’s plans to financially support 3,000 workers who are casually employed by public cultural and sporting organisations – such as Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Recital Centre and Melbourne Aquatic Centre – but are ineligible for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper scheme.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has found more than a quarter of arts workers have lost their jobs over the course of the COVID-19 outbreak, with that figure expected to rise.

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