Only a fifth of the government's $250 million arts rescue package has been handed out

The package was announced in June after much campaigning from the sector, which continues to be hard-hit by coronavirus restrictions and closures.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and singer Guy Sebastian view the Sydney Coliseum Theatre during a tour of West HQ at Rooty Hill in Sydney, Thursday, June 25, 2020. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the arts funding package in June alongside singer Guy Sebastian Source: AAP

Artists are still waiting for support from the Morrison government's $250 million package, with most of it unspent.

A Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday was told only $49.5 million of the package has been allocated so far.

That portion of the support package is a $50 million temporary interruption fund run by Screen Australia.

It helps new local projects that have been unable to start production due to insurance exclusions relating to coronavirus.

"It's only if those productions need support that it comes in," Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications deputy secretary Pip Spence said.

"I wouldn't call it insurance but it does give the producers certainty."

The $250 million package after much campaigning from the sector, which continues to be hard-hit by coronavirus restrictions and closures.

As well as the Screen Australia fund, the package includes various grants and loans.

Ms Spence said some support would be signed off in November.

"Work is under way to consider projects that have been put forward to get the money out the door as quickly as we can," she told senators.

"The money will be rolled out over the next 12 months."

All the funds from a separate $27 million package for Indigenous and regional artists has gone out.

Ms Spence said the department was helping the expert health committee come up with a plan for restarting the industry.

"We're certainly very committed to making sure we can actually get the sector able to be providing activities and being able to start productions again."

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2 min read
Published 21 October 2020 at 3:34pm
Source: AAP, SBS