COVID 19 Arts Sustainability Fund

What is the COVID 19 Arts Sustainability Fund?

The COVID 19 Arts Sustainability Fund is a grant opportunity which aims to provide ‘last resort’ funding assistance to significant Australian Government-funded arts organisations that are assessed to be at imminent risk of insolvency as a direct result of COVID-19, having taken all reasonable action to maintain their financial position.



The COVID 19 Arts Sustainability Fund was announced as part of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Creative Economy Support Package to help restart the creative economy as it rebuilds from the impacts of COVID-19.

The Australian Government, through the Department and the Australia Council, provides multi-year operational funding to a range of organisations that are the key employers of Australian artists and art workers, the leading presenters of high-quality work to audiences across Australia and the
training ground of Australia’s upcoming performing artists. The operations and financial stability of these organisations have been significantly affected by COVID-19, resulting in some organisations being at risk of insolvency.

The COVID 19 Arts Sustainability Fund is intended to assist by providing the necessary finance to plan a pathway for recovery from the effects of COVID-19. This will support employment of workers (including in interdependent industries such as hospitality, retail, accommodation, transport and freight) and contribute to rebuilding Australia’s economy, as well as enhancing community wellbeing and access to cultural experiences across Australia.



The Australian Government will provide a total of $35 million in 2020-21 for the program.

The maximum value of the grant will be the subject of negotiation with the organisation based on financial information provided with the application. It is anticipated that most grants will be between $100,000 and $5,000,000, depending on the complexity of the organisation’s operations and financial and cashflow position.


Eligible Projects

The grant funds must be used to support the continuing operation of your arts organisation in accordance with the grant agreement at the time of each claim. You can only spend the grant on eligible expenditure you have agreed with the Department under the grant agreement at the time of each claim.

You cannot use the grant for any activity outside the scope agreed with the Department, as set out in the grant agreement and in each successful claim.

Grant money cannot be used to meet expenses that can be recovered from alternative Commonwealth or State Government programs, for example meeting staffing costs that can be supported under the Commonwealth JobKeeper Payment.


Eligible Applicants

To be eligible for the COVID 19 Arts Sustainability Fund, applicants must be:

  • currently party to, or due to enter into, a multi-year funding agreement with the Australian Government, either through the Australia Council or the Office for the Arts in the Departmentunder one or more of the following programs:
  • National Performing Arts Partnership Framework
  • Four Year Funding Program 2021-24
  • Four Year Funding Program 2017-20
  • Visual Arts and Craft Strategy 2016-21
  • Cultural Development Program for the National Performing Arts Training Organisations

An organisation is not eligible to apply if it is:

  • a statutory body under Commonwealth, state or territory legislation, including but not limited to national cultural institutions and performing arts companies;
  • an arts organisation with a one-off, project, annual or multi-year funding agreement with the Australian Government, either through the Australia Council or the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, under any program or initiative not listed above.



Applications close 31 May 2021.


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