Arts sector to receive $35m in new support

Musicians are among the eligible recipients of extra funding for the COVID-struck arts sector.
Musicians are among the eligible recipients of extra funding for the COVID-struck arts sector.

A charity for musicians, performers and crew will receive a $20 million funding boost as calls for help spike on the back of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Support Act provides grants of up to $2700 and a counselling service to people in the music industry suffering hardship.

The charity will broaden its scope to include support for artists, production and technical crew across the wider arts sector.

Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher on Tuesday announced the funding increase along with $15 million in sustainability measures for arts organisations to stay afloat during the pandemic.

"The challenges faced by those in the arts and entertainment sector are affecting the mental health of many in the industry," he said.

"That's why charities like Support Act are crucial at this time."

Support Act has provided 4506 grants totalling $10.9 million since the start of August.

The counselling service has also completed 1700 hours with people in the music industry.

The Morrison government has come under heavy fire for not doing enough to support the arts sector which has been ravaged by restrictions.

Labor's arts spokesman Tony Burke said Support Act was a good organisation but likened the new funding to putting an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff.

"We need to have a targeted wage subsidy and an insurance system for industry," he told a caucus meeting in Canberra.

The coalition argues it has provided $475 million through its creative economy COVID support measures since the pandemic started.

Australian Associated Press