WAM response to Level 2 COVID-19 Business Assistance Package
WAM welcome today’s COVID-19 support package announcement from the WA Government and their acknowledgement that the arts industry is in great need of financial relief. However, more work is needed to ensure musicians and artists, sector professionals and businesses can continue hanging on through the coming months, and the incoming challenge to get audiences back in venues.
The Level 2 COVID-19 Business Assistance Package
sees the roll-out of a $66.8 million Small Business Hardship Grants Program
, catered towards all businesses meeting the criteria, including arts and events businesses. The tiered grant system requires businesses to demonstrate a 50 percent or greater reduction in turnover for any four period between 1 January 2022 and 30 April 2022, as compared with the same period last year. Including;
- $3,000 grant for sole traders (no employees);
- $7,500 grant for micro businesses (those with one to five employees);
- $20,000 grant for small businesses (those with six to 19 employees); and
- $50,000 for medium-sized businesses (those with 20 or more employees and with an annual payroll of up to $4 million).
Whilst the inclusion of eligibility for sole-traders, micro businesses and small businesses makes the funding more widely accessible to the music sector, the 50 percent turn-over reduction as compared to the same period last year fails to acknowledge the chronic nature of COVID’s financial impact. Whilst restrictions were minimal during this 2020 period, the industry was still in survival mode.
Some within the industry are still awaiting receipt of funds, or application outcomes from prior support packages. Support is needed now – and it is vital the roll-out of funds and availability of guidelines and criteria reflects this. WAM are continuing to advocate for expedition of relief support, and expansion of eligibility criteria to cater to the sector’s unique ecosystem of sole-traders, contract workers and micro-businesses.
Release of the guidelines and full eligibility criteria for the grant program will indicate how effective the support may be, and whether calls for tax exemption for relief payments have been heard. As events are cancelled, industry work postponed, and artists stepping off the stage, we call on the government to listen, and urgently invest in the survival and long term recovery of WA’s contemporary music sector, and what it brings to our community and abroad.
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