The Federal Government has released guidelines for the $75million Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) grant fund for the arts and entertainment sector.
The RISE fund is part of the government’s $250million arts relief package announced in June. The government was criticised last week for its delay in releasing the guidelines and allocation of funds.
The fund will provide grants of between $75,000 and $2million to restart festivals, concerts, tours and events “when it is safe to do so”, with applications open from August 31 until May 31, 2021. The development of COVID-Safe infrastructure and protocols, sound and lighting equipment purchases are also eligible for funding.
The COVID-19 Creative Economy Support Package comprises:
- Seed Investment to Reactivate Productions and Tours—$75 million in competitive grant funding in 2020–21 through the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund. This program will provide capital to help production and event businesses to put on new festivals, concerts, tours and events as social distancing restrictions ease, including through innovative operating and digital delivery models. Grants of varying sizes will be available, from $75,000 through to $2 million. More information on this funding opportunity is provided below.
- Show Starter Loans—$90 million in concessional loans to assist creative economy businesses to fund new productions and events that stimulate job creation and economic activity. The loans program will complement the RISE Fund and will be delivered through commercial banks, backed by a 100 per cent Commonwealth guarantee.
- Kick-starting Local Screen Production—$50 million for Screen Australia for a Temporary Interruption Fund that will support local film and television producers to secure finance and start filming again, which will support thousands of jobs in the sector. Filming of new productions has largely been halted as insurers are not providing coverage for COVID-19.
- Supporting Sustainability of Sector-Significant Organisations—$35 million to provide direct financial assistance to support significant Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations facing threats to their viability due to COVID-19, which may include organisations in fields including theatre, dance, circus, music and other fields. The Government will partner with the Australia Council to deliver this funding. More information on this funding opportunity is provided below.
- Creative Economy Taskforce—establishment of a ministerial taskforce to partner with the Government and the Australia Council to implement the JobMaker plan for the creative economy.
Eligibility criteria require the activities to be “of a nature that is likely to be popular with Australian audiences” and “contribute to job creation”. Venues, festivals or organisations that are at risk of insolvency are also ineligible.
The grants are not available to individual sole traders (unless they employ others), nor to cover or tribute bands, film and television productions and competitions, awards or Eisteddfods.
Grants will take up to three months to be awarded after an application is lodged. Applications will be assessed four to six weeks after they are lodged, while approval will take two to four weeks after that. The actual dispensement of grants will come two weeks after approval.
The first round of assessments is expected to take place in October.
A panel of “experienced assessors” will review grant applications, seeking advice from the Australian Council for the Arts. Federal Minister for the Arts Paul Fletcher will have the final decision on the grant recipients.
The grants will allow the arts sector reactivate, re-imagine and create new cultural experiences, including innovative operating and digital delivery models. This will help keep artists, performers, roadies, front of house staff and all those who work behind the scenes employed, Mr Fletcher said in a press release.
On the same day, the government has opened applications for its $20million Live Music Australia initiative announced in March 2019. Shadow Minister for the Arts Tony Burke criticised both RISE and the LMA funds’ guidelines on Twitter.
For more information about the RISE grant funding for the arts and entertainment sector click here.