State and Federal Government support in response to COVID-19


The Australian screen production industry has released COVID-Safe Guidelines to help get the industry back to work.

The Guidelines have been developed by the Australian Screen Sector Task Force, comprising the Australian Film Television & Radio School (AFTRS), Screen Australia, the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), Screen Producers Australia (SPA), State Agencies, Guilds, ABC, SBS, Ausfilm and major production companies, to support a safe return to production in Australia. The Guidelines have been drafted in consultation with the Commonwealth Department of Health and global law firm, Clyde & Co.

The Guidelines and associated resources are now available on the Screen Australia website.


NSW Government general response measures to help businesses, organisations and individuals

The NSW Government has announced COVID-19 economic stimulus packages that complement the Federal Government’s measures.

Initiatives announced on 17 March were valued at $2.3 billion and included $1.6 billion for tax cuts and job creation and $700 million to boost health. The second announcement on 28 March included further cuts to payroll tax and other charges. A further announcement on 3 April included grants through a small business support fund, also applicable to arts organisations and sole traders. (This page last updated 9 April, 2020)

The following support is available:

  • Businesses with wages of over $10 million a year are eligible for a payroll tax deferral for six months.
  • Businesses with wages of up to $10 million a year are eligible for a payroll tax waiver for three months, with the option of deferring payroll tax payments for an additional three months.
  • All businesses liable for payroll tax will benefit from a reduction in the payroll tax threshold from $900,000 to $1 million in 2020/21.
  • Small businesses with payroll less than $900,000 are eligible for grants of $10,000 from the Small Business Support Fund provided they:
    • have a turnover of at least $75,000 a year and between one and 19 employees as of 1 March, 2020
    • can demonstrate a decline in turnover due to COVID-19.
      This program is open to industries that have been highly impacted by COVID-19, including arts and recreation services. Sole traders are eligible.
  • Small commercial businesses which lease government owned buildings can apply for a deferral of rent.
  • Businesses liable for the Parking Spaces Levy and have less than 20 employees are eligible for a six months deferral of the levy.

Business Concierge service

  • Service NSW provides a business ‘Concierge’ service, that can provide you with guidance if your business has been impacted by COVID-19 or NSW bushfires, by connecting you with support and advice.


Federal Government Covid-19 response measures for businesses and individuals

Businesses who are impacted by COVID-19 can apply for the JobKeeper Payment eligible employees who were employed as of 1 March 2020. The flat rate wage subsidy is worth $1,500 a fortnight per employee and includes employees who were stood down and have been rehired.

Employers need to have a turnover of less than $1 billion and demonstrate a 30 per cent reduction in turnover compared to a comparable period last year (or a 15 per cent reduction in the case of Not for Profit organisations).

Eligible employees include full time, part time and long-term casual employees and sole traders. Employees can only receive the JobKeeper Payment from one employer.

Businesses wanting to access the JobSeeker Payment should register their intention via the ATO website.

Individuals who have lost their jobs but are not eligible employees under the JobKeeper scheme may be eligible for the JobSeeker Payment which has been temporarily increased to $1,100 a fortnight.

Applications can be made online here.


Useful links

General advice and support

Mental health resources

  • An article on how to cope with COVID-19 from online arts magazine ArtsHub.
  • Support Act is a charity delivering crisis relief services to artists, crew and music workers that impacts their ability to work including mental health resources through their wellbeing helpline.
  • Free mental health webinars for Australian entertainment industry workers from Entertainment Assist.

Crisis management

  • An example of how Circa managed the crisis from online arts magazine ArtsHub.
  • Tips for small business to prepare for COVID-19 from CPA Australia.


More information

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