On Wednesday 24th March, the Australian Government announced additional targeted support package worth $135 million aimed to predominately assist people working in the arts and entertainment sectors. This scheme is called “The Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand Fund” or is commonly referred to as “RISE”.

The additional funding comes at a crucial period of time just a few days before JobKeeper finishes on 28th March. This extra funding distributed to people in entertainment and the arts is super important, as one in five of the last remaining recipients of JobKeeper are from the entertainment and arts sectors.

$125 million of the $135 million will be invested into the federal government’s pre-existing Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund. This fund was announced last year with a view to prop up the sector after venues were closed and lockdowns were introduced, this resulting in the cancellation of most entertainment events.  

The remaining $10 million will be distributed to the charity Support Act, which offers crisis support to artists and other workers across the creative sector. 

This new funding will play a vital role in the resurgence and recovery of Australia’s arts and entertainment sector. The money distributed by the government will make it possible for more shows to be put on. This will result in bringing employment to performers, crews and front-of-house staff.

This funding is predicted to support about 230 projects and will lead to the creation of over 90,000 jobs. This will build upon the governments original commitment of $75 million which was distributed last year and the $730 million worth of JobKeeper payments received by the creative and performing arts sector over the course of the schemes existence. 

When RISE was first rolled out last year, it was only available to a small number of successful applicants. Some of these successful applicants included Laneway Festival, Michael Cassel Group, and Bluesfest among several other recipients of the scheme’s original iteration.  

The support packages original intention was to provide competitive project grants to lessen the financial difficulty of putting on events like festivals, concerts and theatre productions. The scheme will now be extended to soften the blow of pre-production costs as well. 

Under the scheme’s expansion, the subsidy will be available until 31 December 2021. It will encourage applications from projects with a value of as little as $25,000. 

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.