Support Act, the charity delivering crisis relief services to artists, crew and music workers in Australia, will receive additional federal funding as crisis relief calls spike.
An additional $20 million will go to Support Act to help the charity respond to the hundreds of requests for crisis money it processes every week.
It was a relatively optimistic autumn for those in the live performance industries, but things have become significantly worse in the past couple of months. At the request of the Government, Support Act will use the new funding to open its grants to a wider spectrum of live performance workers, including people in dance, theatre, circus and opera. Performing arts workers can begin to apply from 23rd August.
On 25th March this year, Support Act announced the MusicKeeper and CrewKeeper grants. Now known as COVID-19 Crisis Relief Grants, their introduction coincided with the removal of the JobKeeper program, which had acted as a lifeline for many businesses and sole traders in the music industry.
Support Act noted at the time that MusicKeeper and CrewKeeper weren’t sufficient replacements for JobKeeper (which ended on 28th March), but designed to “cushion the blow for artists, crew and music workers … who remain largely unable to earn income due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.”
Support Act has been fielding in excess of 500 weekly applications for grant money in recent months after the reintroduction of lockdown restrictions across the country. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, $770,000 was paid out to musicians, managers, crews and music workers just last week.
The COVID-19 Crisis Relief Grants are one-off cash grants of $2000 (or $2700 for families with dependent children). Support Act CEO Clive Miller welcomes the new funding, but told SMH people in the sector are “realistically expecting to struggle for some time to come.”
If you need someone to speak to, you can call the free, 24/7 Wellbeing Helpline, Manager Support Hotline or First Nations Support Line on 1800 959 500.