More than three months after live performances were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has announced a $250 million rescue package of grants and loans for the beleaguered arts industry. The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the arts, with tours and performances cancelled, workers stood down, Sydney’s Carriageworks gone into voluntary administration,and just this week the National Gallery of Australia announced it will be forced to dramatically reduce future acquisitions and lose 10 percent of its staff.

One of the ghost lights installed by the Sydney Opera House in each of its theatres during COVID-19. Photograph © Daniel Boud

The Government’s 12-month package, announced today, includes $75 million of capital funding to help production and event businesses put on new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease, with grants of between $75,000 and $2 million available from next month; $90 million in “show starter” concessional loans to fund new productions and events, delivered through commercial banks, backed by a 100 per cent Commonwealth guarantee; $35 million in direct financial assistance to support Commonwealth-funded arts organisations; and $50 million fund to assist...

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