A communique from our CEO

    16 March 2020

    I want to personally update you on the actions that we are taking here at the Australia Council to manage the evolving situation and the impact of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

    Many artists and organisations, venues, galleries and communities are being impacted in the short term and are expecting longer term effects. We have already cancelled or postponed many Council activities and anticipate further disruption to many of our programs.

    We are all in uncharted territory. At the Council, we are working with industry, the sector and government to assess the impacts of this pandemic on all those working in the cultural and creative sector.

    We are collecting intelligence from across the sector so we can understand what is needed and we are in constant conversation with colleagues about the short and long-term financial implications. 

    This includes working with the Office for the Arts and our Minister to identify what additional avenues of support can be made available. These discussions are underway and we will update you as soon as we can.

    We are also working with state jurisdiction to assess the immediate and mid-term impact on many of our co-funded organisations.

    We are identifying the actions we can take to provide flexibility for those who have received Australia Council funding for activities that have been compromised or can no longer take place due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes options to vary funding agreements, and delivery and reporting timeframes. We will be communicating directly with all of you in this situation.

    Whole of economy measures announced last week in the Government’s $17.6 billion package include cash flow assistance for small and medium businesses to support them continuing to pay employees, up to a maximum of $25,000. This assistance will be available to eligible small and medium arts businesses.

    Our number one priority for the next three months is to support people who work in the cultural and creative sectors, and to come out on the other side of this crisis with our sector able to resume activity. 

    Further guidance is available through our web resources which we are updating daily.

    In these difficult times, there have been many reminders of how creativity connects us. It has before and it will again, especially in times of uncertainty and emergency. We encourage you to stay in touch with your peak bodies and groups. Let’s keep talking and sharing resources.

    Thank you.

    Adrian Collette

    CEO, Australia Council for the Arts

    Further guidance is available through our web resources which we are updating daily.

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