Sustaining Creative Workers

Greater Melbourne has become known globally for its rich and diverse arts and culture offerings, including large sporting and artistic events that draw crowds from around Australia and the world. These creative offerings underpin the vibrancy, beauty and liveability that Melbourne has become known for. They also contribute significantly to Melbourne’s economic success, through delivering significant employment, and contribution to GSP.  Dramatically, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, only 47 per cent of arts and recreational businesses are still operating.

The Committee for Melbourne knows how important the creative sector is for Melbourne. The Committee’s permanent Arts and Culture Taskforce’s members include sporting venues, theatres, and iconic cultural locations like Federation Square. The Committee is working with its taskforce members to assist the arts and culture sector with collaborative efforts on the road to recovery.

The Committee welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement of $16.8 million dedicated funding for Victoria’s creative sector. The funding that has been announced is as follows:

  • A new $13 million Strategic Investment Fund for almost 100 Creative Victoria-funded, non-government arts and cultural organisations (e.g. festivals, performing arts companies, museums, galleries, and First Peoples, youth and culturally diverse arts organisations).
  • Quick response grants will be provided to affected Victorian based independent artists, creative practitioners and micro-organisations, with five or more years of professional experience, from a new $2.2 million Sustaining Creative Workers initiative. Grants of $5,000 will be available for individuals, and $10,000 for micro-organisations and businesses. An additional $2,500 in access funding will be available for Deaf and Disabled creatives, and Disability-led organisations.
  • Almost $1.6 million will be invested directly into the sector over the next three weeks through the latest rounds of the VicArts Grants, Music Works, and Innovation in Marketing programs.

This dedicated creative industries funding, is in addition to the already announced $500 million Business Support Fund and the Working for Victoria scheme, which also can be accessed by eligible creative organisations.

The Committee understands that there may be another tranche of Victorian Government funding for creative organisations under consideration.  We support such additional funding, especially for organisations which are not currently Organisation Investment Program recipients. Melbourne has many creative organisations that are iconic to Melbourne institutions which must not be allowed to fall through the cracks. 

Injections of dedicated funding through the next few months is a necessary and welcome step, to enable creative organisations and artists to survive through this period. There is no doubt however, that the economic recovery will be slow, particularly in this hard-hit sector which in many instances relies upon gatherings and discretionary spending from the community.

What can we do?

The Committee will work with its members and governments, to review what structural reforms and initiatives may be required in the longer-term to get the creative industries back on their feet. 

As a first step, the Committee is pleased to be holding a forum with Andrew Abbott, Deputy Secretary, Creative, Sport and Visitor Economy to update members on the status of government funding, and to begin the discussion about the longer-term initiatives required to enable the economic recovery of our creative industries.

For further information about the Committee’s Arts and Culture Taskforce activities, please contact Director Policy, Leanne Edwards.