Last year, as part of the 2020-21 federal budget, the Australian government announced around $800 million of additional funding to support the nations creative and cultural sectors. 

Screen Australia has been given access to $33 million to support the continued development and production of Australian content. This funding consists of $30 million to support Australian film and television drama, documentaries and children’s’ productions. Another $3 million will be distributed to foster high-quality Australian screenwriting and script development.  

The Australian Children’s Television Foundation has been given $20 million to increase support for the production, development and distribution of high-quality Australian children’s on-screen content.  

Australia’s national collecting institutions have also been given access to $31.2 million for capital works, storage and digitisation projects, and to also support Trove.  

Craig Dangar from Vault Accountants has been working closely with his clients in applying for these loans, he notes that “this is the shot in the arm that creative industries need, with the inability to obtain cancellation insurance due to covid, many event operators are on their knees and need additional funding to put events on”.

These concessional loans will be a huge benefit to Australia’s creative economy. They will make it possible for entertainment practitioners to fund new events and productions which have been difficult to orchestrate since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

Announced in December 2020, The Show Starter Loan Scheme is a $90 million loan project established by the Australian Government.  The scheme aims to give creative economy businesses access to finances which will make it possible for them to create new productions and events which will result in job creation and economic activity. 

The scheme is part of the federal government’s $250 million Covid-19 Creative Economy Package and is being delivered through the $40 billion Coronavirus Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Guarantee Scheme.  

Under the program, the Australian government has said that they are guaranteeing 100% of new loans taken out by eligible arts and entertainment businesses.

Australian creative economy businesses who are deemed eligible will be able to apply for loans of up to 50 percent of the total budget for an activity (or up to $5 million, whichever is the lesser amount) to support the delivery of new arts and entertainment productions or events. Loan terms are for up to five years. 

Around 600,000 Australia work in the creative and cultural industries. A significant number of productions, stage shows, tours and live events were cancelled due to lockdowns, border closures and crowd restrictions.

Show Starter is part of the Australian Government’s $250 million JobMaker scheme for the creative economy. The scheme will inject $800 million into supporting arts and entertaining funding during the covid-19 pandemic.

 Major players who will be assisted include Melbourne’s Harry Potter Show, The Melbourne Theatre Comapany, Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre and Bangarra Dance Theatre. These organisations are expected to apply for the federal assistance.

Those who apply will be able to use loan funding for artistic works, exhibitions, festivals, concerts as well as some online and digital projects which complement events or productions.

New productions and events which will be considered eligible under the scheme can include those which were planned to occur prior to when covid-19 hit and were consequently cancelled or will require significant modification. Productions and events which were mounted or opened, but then interrupted or postponed are also eligible to be considered.

Funds cannot be used to cover international wages, for capital works, operating costs for creative organisations, debt repayments or refinancing.