COVID-19 funding sources and assistance for creatives: federal, state and local

Tuesday, 07 Apr 2020

We've created a resource hub for available cash support. Things are moving fast in this space and we’ll try and keep this updated with changes and new initiatives. We've drilled down by federal, state and local. 

Help ease restrictions faster with the COVIDSafe app

The Australian Government's COVIDSafe app aims to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you are comfortable downloading the app, please consider sharing this message to encourage more Australians to download the app. It might help ease restrictions sooner, and get live music happening again.

Federal Government cash support

Overall, there is no direct music industry-specific funding support from the federal government at this stage. Music businesses and workers are covered by unemployment (Job Seeker) and wage subsidy (JobKeeper) initiatives. Announcements are expected soon about freelancers (no ABN) and short term casuals who fall through some of the eligibility gaps at the moment…).


What is it Unemployment benefit, used to be called Newstart. Paid through Centrelink.
Who gets it Unemployed/insufficient work, aged 22 and over. Under 21s and full-time students under 24 get ‘Youth Allowance’ or ‘Abstudy’.
How much $565.70 per fortnight (plus $550/fortnight from the top-up coronavirus supplement, see below). No assets test (you can have savings). Partner’s income threshold is $79,762 before your benefit is affected. (Being part of Job Seeker means you’ll be tested for eligibility for other things like rent subsidy).
How to get it It’s automatic if you were already getting Newstart. If you’re newly-unemployed, you have to register with Centrelink. First time with Centrelink? Helpful walk-through from the ABC, here
More info Visit Service Australia
Making it easier to claim a payment
What is it A top-up benefit of $550 per fortnight – but not yet: it kicks in on 27 April. It’s paid by Centrelink and will be temporary, for 6 months
Who gets it  It will get added if you get Job Seeker benefit, Sickness allowance, Youth allowance, Parenting payment, Partner allowance, Farm household allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY (NOT JobKeeper). 

NOTE: If you’re a casual with still a bit of money coming in, but below $1075/fortnight, you may be eligible to get the supplement too.

How much  $550/fortnight (This means you’ll get $1100/fortnight via Job Seeker+ Coronavirus Supplement)
How to get it  If you’re on one of the existing eligible benefits, you’ll get it automatically from Centrelink. 

Make sure you register with Centrelink by 13 April

What is it  New wage subsidy paid to you by your workplace, or former workplace if they had let you go after March 1st and agree to rehire you. (The company essentially gets reimbursed through the ATO). It's about trying to keep business and workers connected through this time.
Who gets it  An eligible business gets it then must pass it on to you. Eligible business types include company, partnership, trust, charity/not for profit, sole trader (must have ABN) and self-employed (must have ABN). Business has to meet turnover and lost income eligibility, such as being able to show drop in income of 30% for this March compared to March last year. Music-related businesses may be able to argue a special case to the ATO.

If you lost your job from a now eligible business, you can be part of JobKeeper if:

  • You were a casual with that business for 12 months or more or you were full or part time
  • They agree to hire you back

If you’re a freelancer without an ABN or a casual without 12 months or more continuous work, unfortunately you don’t meet the JobKeeper requirements. This may change. At the moment you’re covered by Job Seeker.

How much  

$1500 per fortnight (before tax), paid to your work from the ATO and passed on to you in full - even if you were being paid less pre coronavirus. Note: JobKeeper payments won’t be reimbursed to businesses until the end of May, so be aware your work has to be able to carry your payments until then.

More reading

Am I eligible for the jobkeeper payment? Here's everything you need to know to register [The Guardian]

JobKeeper update [White Sky]

Guide on Government Stimulus Measures [White Sky] 

What is it This was an early announcement from the government, around two separate one-time payments to come from Centrelink
Who gets it Any benefit recipient including what is now Job Seeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy, Abstudy, etc. (NOT JobKeeper)
How much $750, twice. (1st time after 31 Mar, 2nd time after 13 July)
How to get it

It’s automatic if you’re on one of the eligible benefits

So, are you a Job Seeker or JobKeeper?

It has to be one or the other.

Here are a couple of good explainers:

Affected by coronavirus and need to apply for JobKeeper or JobSeeker payments? Here's what you need to know [ABC News]

Job Seeker or JobKeeper? The answer to the question on everyone’s lips [SMH]

And here’s a walk-through document from Treasury, including case studies.


Open to individuals, groups and organisations under three categories: Survive, Adapt and Create

More info here
Apply now or call toll free to speak to a grants officer first on 1800 226 912


What is it A broad, stop-gap grant to offset or recoup money eg due to lost bookings. Open now, no closing dates. Assessed and paid within 4 weeks. No acquittal necessary. NB You can apply for all three types of grant – survive, adapt, thrive – but, if successful, you’ll only get one. 
Who gets it Individuals, arts groups, organisations
How much Up to $2000 (individuals, groups), up to $5000 (organisations)
What is it Help to adapt with new ways of working, such as for training, setting up an e-commerce site, or trying new-look collaborations, for example. Open now, no closing date. Assessed and paid within 6 weeks.  NB You can apply for all three types of grant – survive, adapt, thrive – but, if successful, you’ll only get one.  
Who gets it Individuals, arts groups, organisations (but not OzCo’s Four Year Partner orgs or Partner Orgs). If you’re going after funding for a collaboration, someone has to be the lead applicant
How much

Up to $10,000 (individuals, groups), up to $20,000 (orgs)

What is it

This is about new work or support for what was work-in-progress pre-COVID-19. Open now, no closing date. Assessed and paid within 6 weeks. 
NB You can apply for all three types of grant – survive, adapt, thrive – but, if successful, you’ll only get one. 

Who gets it Individuals, arts groups, organisations (NB Not OzCo’s Four Year Partner orgs or Partner Orgs)
How much

Up to $10,000 (individuals, groups), up to $20,000 (orgs)

What is it Payments based on live performance of your works, usually paid in November. Update: These were paid in May.
Who gets it APRA members, for their registered works
How much Payment amount is different for every member. We’re fast-tracking this year’s November payments to May and using your November 2019 payment as a guide. More FAQs at the link below. Email asap if your payout at November 2019 is not a good guide for the fast-tracked May payment

What you need to know about Early Performance Reports Payment
Claim it Announced in May: You can now claim royalties for Australian or New Zealand based live performances of your works, streamed on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. Submit setlists.
What is it An advance for PPCA registered artists suffering hardship as a result of the decimation of the live music sector.
Who gets it PPCA registered artists
How much From $250 to $10,000, based on your average earnings under the PPCA Direct Artist Distribution Scheme (the last three years).
How to get it

If you’re a PPCA registered artist, PPCA will invite you to apply, or you can email

More info 

Covid-related resources and links for the music community in each State and Territory

Regional AUS

Regional Arts Fund Recovery Boost

The Recovery Boost is a one-off targeted investment provided by the Australian Government. The funding recognises that the creative industries are central to thriving and healthy communities across regional, rural and remote Australia and that arts and culture activities are vital in the recovery and renewal process.
Open 29 June 2020 – 21 August 2020


Music NSW Resources

Create NSW
Small Project Grants (quick response) - more info

Sydney City
Apply now for COVID-19 relief grants

Wollongong City

Council has extended its grants deadline e.g. bands and choirs (up to $2000), community events (up to $20,000) to 20 April. [CLOSED]

Callout for new independent artists’ projects
$24,000 is being made available for new projects from artists residing in Wollongong, or with strong links to the Illawarra region. Up to 12 new performance project grants of $2,000 - $4,000 are available. Expression of Interest form - submit by 9 June. [CLOSED]


Shoalhaven Arts Board grants have a professional development grant of $3000 (to individuals) and ‘A Sense of Place’ creative project grant of $10,000, closing date has been extended to 8 May 2020. [CLOSED]

Inner West

Artist and Creative Practitioner Grants for creative development, new work and adaptation projects for creatives (up to $5000). 

Creative Spaces Grants to support survival and resilience in local creative spaces (up to $20,000).

Accepting applications until 17 May. [CLOSED]


Music Victoria
Sign up for a free membership until the end of the Financial Year (30 June).

VMDO Grants listings - check it out

Creative Victoria
Sustaining Creative Workers
A quick-response funding to professional independent creative practitioners, sole traders, freelancers, collectives and micro-organisations/businesses whose work and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by coronavirus. Round opens: 9am, 30 April 2020 using the Creative Victoria Grants Portal or for regional applicants, applying through Regional Arts Victoria.

Applicants can apply at any time up to 5pm, 1 June 2020 or until the funding pool is exhausted.

Victorian Business Support
The Victorian government has set up a new Business support fund to help small businesses pay utilities, salaries, develop business continuity plans, marketing and comms activity, etc. It’s for small businesses with a turnover of $75,000+, that employ staff. Must have had an ABN before 16 March. It’s $10,000.

Apply here, by 1 June 2020
More info or call 13 22 15

Arts Centre Melbourne - Victorian composers under 30 commission
The five selected emerging composers aged 18-29 will each receive a $1,250 commission. 5x5x5 = 5 emerging composers, 5 new works, 5 minutes. Apply by 10am Mon 1 June.

Melbourne City

Initial round of emergency grants of up to $4000, for new work, was inundated and has closed.

QLD QMUSIC website

Arts Queensland stART Grants
Music grants administered by QMusic
$500,000 grant program to support independent creative practitioners, grants of $3000 on offer. Open 15 June - 22 June. [CLOSED]

Special mention: Arts QLD’s Individuals fund gives grants of up to $10,000 and has an extended deadline of 21 April - apply now  [CLOSED]

WA  WAM's resource hub

Special mention: there’s a new COVID-19 relief fund being run by Lottery West, for charities and community orgs, including in the arts.  

Perth City

Council’s usual arts grants  - up to $30,000 - are open, til 21 April. [CLOSED]


Music SA's resources

Country Arts SA 
Quick response grants. Up to $1500 for individuals, and up to $3000 for organisations. Applications can be submitted anytime between 2-8 weeks prior to your activity commencing. Applications close 30 June 2020 – pending available funds.

Music Development Office
Project Support Grants - apply by 17 April [CLOSED]

Adelaide City

A range of arts and culture grants up to $20,000. Council has extended application deadlines to 4 May, due to COVID-19. [CLOSED]

City of Charles Sturt

Live and Local - EOIs are open ongoing, until funds are exhausted.

Foyer Fridays - paid performance opportunity. Apply by 14 May. [CLOSED]

Westside Place Makers have opened a covid-19 grant round aimed at supporting local artists and providing place making, art, music and creativity. Grants up to $2000, open til 18 May. [CLOSED]


Arts TAS resources

Arts Tasmania funding extended:

- Individuals and Groups will close on 9 June [CLOSED]

- Programs closing 13 July: [CLOSED]
- Artsbridge
- The Northern Tasmania Arts Organisations Initiative
- Organisations
- Youth Arts Organisations 

Tasmanian Contemporary Music Fund

A new grant to help Tassie musicians replace their lost live gigs with music/music videos for online distribution. Open to Tassie individuals (resident there for 6 months or more) or Tassie organisations. It’s $10,000. Contact the Arts Tasmania grants team on 03 6165 6666 or

Apply by 4 May 2020 [CLOSED]

Arts and Screen digital production fund

A new grant to support artists and arts organisations whose work has been cancelled, postponed or disrupted by COVID-19 to work with screen partners. Open to Tassie individuals, groups and orgnisations (you can have interstate members but the funds can only go to Tassie residents). It’s $10,000 for individuals, groups and orgs or $50,000 for orgs partnering with other orgs. 

Apply here, by 4 May 2020 [CLOSED]


Where You Are Festival - Call for Expressions of Interest
Submissions are sought from Canberra Region makers, creators, businesses, artists and organisations for inclusion in the Festival program, as well as up to $20,000 in financial support for the delivery of programming offerings. Submissions close at 5:00PM 12 June 2020 [CLOSED]

Homefront grant

One off grants of up to $10,000, across all artforms including music, to help support ACT artists maintain their practice over the next 6-9 months. Apply before 17 April. [CLOSED]  Successful recipients to be announced 1 May.

ACT musos can call Daniel Ballantyne at Music ACT for some help with applying, on 0407 289 604 or or call artsACT on (02) 6207 2384.

 NT   Music NT's fact sheet for NT individuals explains the support from the federal government 

Other grants

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music Office Sustainability Fund
The $100,000 fund is a project assisted by the Australian Government. Songwriter and composer members are encouraged to apply for one of 50 grants. Opens 3 July, apply by 20 July 12pm AEST.

Willgoss Ensemble Composition Prize
This is a new composition prize, on offer from UNSW in 2020-only. The winning applicant will be commissioned to compose a short, new work for either: SATB choir with piano or organ; String ensemble; Brass and percussion ensemble; or Woodwind ensemble, winner will receive a cash prize of $2,500 in addition to the opportunity to have their score performed in 2021. Applications open 1 July and close on 2 August.

Willgoss Choral Composition Prize: The winner of the Prize, on offer from UNSW, will receive a cash prize of $3000 in addition to the opportunity to have their Score performed by the Burgundian Consort in its annual evening recital in October 2021. Applications open on 1 July 1 and close on 29 January 2021.

National Library Folk Fellowship
The fellowship is offered jointly with the National Folk Festival. Applications close 5pm, Friday 7 August 2020, Australian Eastern Standard Time.

National Library of Australia's Creative Arts Fellowships
Creative Arts Fellowship – using the library's collections, artists can progress or complete an artwork/body of work. Artists may be working in any medium other than writing. This may include music, dance, visual arts, emerging or experimental artforms. $10,000 stipend, open to all career stages. Apply by 5pm (AEST) on Friday 10 July 2020.

Levi’s® Music Relief Fund
The redesigned Levi’s® Music Relief Fund is assisting 10 artists, distributing between them $45,000 in cash. All Australian and New Zealand residents who have showcased at BIGSOUND during its 18 year history are eligible to apply

Applications for the next round are open now and close at 11:59pm (AEST), Sunday 5 July 2020.

Australia Council - The Cherish Fund
The Cherish Fund is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption experienced by the First Nations arts and cultural sector and community. Apply by 15 June. [CLOSED]

APRA AMCOS Sustainability Fund 
$2000 grants for APRA AMCOS members whose creative practice has been significantly affected by COVID-19. Eligibility criteria and application form here. [CLOSED]

First round recipients announced, second round of funding allocated to first round unsuccessful applicants. You don't need to take further action if you applied.

ABC Fresh Start Fund
Includes an Innovation Fund, and Australian Music Fund, which offers practical support to emerging, underrepresented and professional Australian musicians and composers, in conjunction with existing initiatives across ABC national music networks such as triple j and ABC Classic.

Applications for competitive funds will be accepted on a rolling basis from 4 May to 12 June 2020. [CLOSED]

triple j Unearthed Level Up grants
15 different financial grants. To be eligible for a Level Up grant, you must have at least one song uploaded to triple j Unearthed and you’ll also need to fill out the application form which you can access right here. Apply by 7 June. [Closed]

Australian Music Center - Peggy Glanville-Hicks Commissions
10 x $1000 bursaries will be available to the Australian music community to create online works that are realised in 2020. EOIs by 8 May. [Closed]

AMP Tomorrow Fund
Grants from $5000 to $100,000 from AMP Foundation. For innovators or ‘Tomorrow Makers’ across the Australian community in science, the arts, sport. Emily Wurramurra, CXLOE, Woodes are previous recipients. Apply by 15 April. [Closed]

Other resources

Support Act
Great info on Job Seeker, JobKeeper, your rights with your utilities provider and your landlord, including state-by-state links re residential tenancy rights as they currently stand. And, of course, emergency financial relief and mental health helpline.

Support Act Crisis Relief Grants: COVID-19
There is no deadline to apply, however, those experiencing hardship are encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible. 

Support Act: COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund 
Netflix has donated $1m and partnered with SUPPORT ACT to deliver the COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund to help the hardest hit workers in the television and film industry due to the production shutdowns caused by COVID-19 across all of Australia. One time grant of $1,000 is available to workers affected, including those in music and sound. Opens 15 June, apply by 22 June. [CLOSED]

Arts Wellbeing Collective
COVID-19 resources for creatives

Additional help is a phone call away:

  •        Support Act Wellbeing Helpline - 1800 959 500 
  •        Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
  •        Lifeline – 13 11 14

To our members: a reminder that APRA AMCOS cannot provide financial advice to our members because everyone’s situation is different. However, we are happy to provide general guidance during these times.

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