COVID-19: Avenues of Support for Artists and Arts Workers

Artists and arts workers are seeing their work evaporate. Multicultural Arts Victoria recognises that jobs in the industry will be scarce for the immediate future as self-generated income disappears.

Along with our counterparts in the sector we are urging governments to provide urgent support.

In the meantime, here are some ways that may assist you at this critical time. 

Also, there is a Facebook group, ‘Australian Arts amidst COVID-19‘, that has updated info and tips for artists and arts workers during this period (info organised under tags on the right-hand side).

Artsfront are doing a zoom meeting every week day for 30 minutes at 12pm. More info here.


Victorian Government

As part of a $1.7 billion economic survival package, the Victorian Government has announced $500 million to establish a Business Support Fund to assist small to medium businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Victorian Government will work with the Victorian Chamber, Australian Hotels Association and Ai Group to administer the fund to help businesses survive and keep people in work.

To register your interest in receiving more details of the program please provide your contact information on the form found via the ‘Register your interest’ button below.

Federal Government and Centrelink

Measures announced on Sunday 22nd March by the Prime Minister and Treasurer under the government’s $66 billion COVID-19 package offers support for workers and organisations in the cultural and creative sector. Many casuals and sole traders in the cultural and creative sector face a loss of income for a significant period.

The Government has temporarily waived the asset test and waiting periods for the Jobseeker allowance, while a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement will be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight to both existing and new recipients. This effectively doubles the current JobSeeker allowance to $1100 per fortnight

To claim online, people who do not already deal with Services Australia will need to set up their myGov account, call to verify their identity and get a link to their Centrelink online account.

Centrelink Update from 1:30pm, 23 March 2020 
  • Do not go into offices if it can be avoided. Staffing has had to be reduced to accommodate social distancing measures.
  • Use the mGov website. It may go down from time to time due to demand – please keep trying.
  • If you have not been able to get on, they will allow you to register an “intent to claim” that can be backdated on the day.
  • If you do not already have a CRN (customer reference number), you now DO NOT need to go to an office. They will make this available online and over the phone.
  • Call centre hours increase to 8am to 8pm local
  • 5000 staff are being recruited for call centres. Register here as a casual.
  • Keep persevering with your application. They will get backdated to the day you lodge your intent to claim.
Australia Council for the Arts

The Australia Council is announcing its first Response Package to support artists, arts practitioners, arts groups and arts organisations coping with the impact of COVID-19.

The Response Package includes:

  • Reporting and other grant conditions relief
  • Adjustments to Four Year Funding 2021-2024
  • Suspending current investment programs and introducing new ones focused on immediate relief
  • An online learning series to assist our sector respond to the crisis
  • First Nations support
  • Sector roundtables
  • Digital support
  • Sector development initiatives
  • Research and analysis that will identify immediate and long term impacts of COVID- 19 on Australia’s cultural sector, and the broader public as a result.
City of Melbourne
Grants open for arts organisations affected by COVID-19

The City of Melbourne has released $2 million in grants for artists and creative organisations impacted by the COVID-19 virus to assist them during this challenging time.

The grants are available to develop new work, or for digital presentation of artistic works and performances and to provide support during the time when restrictions are in place because of COVID-19.

Grants open for businesses affected by COVID-19

The City of Melbourne has released $5 million in financial support for small to medium sized businesses to invest in online and e-commerce capabilities, take part in training and professional development and undertake capital works.

Australian Cultural Fund
ACF Boost

ACF Boost is a funding program designed to enable Australia’s independent artists, small groups and arts organisations to leverage private sector support through a matched funding ‘boost’.

The program offers dollar-for-dollar matched funding of up to $5,000 for projects that are developed, produced or toured within Australia that raise funds through the Australian Cultural Fund (ACF) platform.

Applications are open to independent artists and arts organisations of all arts forms across Australia with preference given to those residing, practicing in or touring work to bushfire or drought affected regions.

Applications are now open and close at 11.59pm AEDT Tuesday 31 March 2020.


Support Act

Support Act are launching an appeal to raise $20m so that we can provide some level of crisis relief to music workers who are facing financial hardship.

Support Act need to raise these funds in order to be in a position to provide the support that is being requested by our community.

Support Act will make an announcement once they are able to do this.

I Lost My Gig

The Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) and the Australian Festival Association (AFA) have joined with industry partners to tally the impact of lost gigs on Australians – and hear your stories. They are working to find ways to support people and businesses who have been affected.

You can leave your details at the following link so you can be connected to funding opportunities and other support.

Arts Law Centre of Australia

The arts sector has been hit hard with cancellations and disruption in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Arts Law has put together answers to some of the most common question’s they havereceived from artists and arts organisations.

Arts Law is a community legal service providing legal advice and support to artists and arts organisations. Where Arts Law may not be equipped to help with certain issues, particularly non-legal ones, they have linked to other services that they recommend you contact.


National Association of Visual Arts (NAVA)

The National Association of Visual Arts (NAVA) provides an Advocacy Toolkit so you can assist in the campaign to get immediate support for artists.

Theatre Network Australia (TNA) and Live Performance Australia (LPA)

TNA has joined with Live Performance Australia and other performing arts and music industry bodies to urge the government to fund an urgent package to prevent a complete and permanent industry shutdown, costing thousands of jobs and forcing the closure of performing arts and commercial companies and venues for good.

Media Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA)

The MEAA, along with other organisations in these sectors, is calling for targeted industry support and a national scheme of paid leave for any workers who are self-employed, casual or whose employer cannot provide them with paid leave in the event of a stand down.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance is conducting a survey on the impact of coronavirus on work and income in the media, entertainment and arts industries.

Diversity Arts Australia

Diversity Arts Australia is gathering data to help us advocate for culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) creatives affected by cancellations and postponements in the creative industries.

If any artists of colour/CALD artists are experiencing extreme hardship, please contact us for advice at

Most importantly, please take the health and safety of our community seriously, and practise social distancing, and self-isolation if you are unwell to slow the spread of COVID-19. For more information about COVID-19, click here.

MAV is following the advice of federal and state governments on social distancing, by supporting our staff to work from home. As such, the office phone will be unattended for the foreseeable future.
Please stay in contact with us however, by email and mobile phones.
(All MAV staff emails are available here)
We are keen to hear from you, especially if you need additional support.
For any enquiries contact MAV at

Image: Interwoven. Photo by Shane Carey

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