Aussie Government Delivers $250M Package, Commits To Reopen Venues, Festivals

– Falls Festival
Australia’s live sector breathed a sigh of relief after prime minister Scott Morrison delivered an A$250 million ($171.6 million) industry survival package June 25. 
It included A$75 million ($51.4 million) in grants of between A$75,000 ($51,478) and A$2 million ($1.37 million) for festivals, concerts, tours and events once social distancing eases; A$35 million ($24 million) in cash for major arts and culture organizations struggling to cope with zero box office income; A$90 million ($61.7 million) of loans to the sector; and A$50 million ($34.3 million) into an insurance fund to kickstart film and TV productions.
Music execs may have expected a larger package but all was forgiven when the prime minister announced next day his cabinet began discussions with health officials to come up with a roadmap to get venues back at full occupancy so they could become financially viable and the return of large summer festivals.
Morrison said it would bring certainty to the sector, and “assist those producers and other event planners with getting moving now and as a result, getting to access and seek support through the entertainment support package.”
Cabinet also agreed to remove the two-square meter rule for smaller (100 square) meter premises to allow them more patrons.
Julia Robinson, general manager of the Australian Festival Association said the package “signals that we can start planning the safe operation of festivals and events as restrictions are eased. Festivals closed their gates over three months ago and we still have no clear timeline of reopening. Federal support will help bolster our work with the states and territories to get the industry moving.”  
James Sutherland, CEO of the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) called the package “a great start to getting the sector back on track” and confirmed it was working with chief health officers in all states and territories to tailor a return to each and working with governments, sporting bodies, venues and audiences to “build confidence” in the industry’s preparedness to operate safely after restrictions ease.
Music rights organization APRA AMCOS, whose Sydney HQ houses the Live Music Office, will continue to call for a tax rebate for venues presenting live music.