Coronavirus – COVID-19

In a response to COVID -19 we are working with our fellow national organisations and colleagues as well as the department and Federal Ministers to facilitate a coordinated impact assessment and industry response. As we move into a 'reopening' phase there is lots to consider as a society, an industry and an art form. There are also many resources available to assist with planning.

The Federal government has released a national 3-step guide guideline. Each state and territory jurisdiction will respond to their epidemiology and will be setting different timelines for their roll out. It is important that you are aware of, and plan to, your particular State / Territory guidelines.

A National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) has been set up “to help minimise and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 on jobs and businesses, and to facilitate the fastest possible recovery of lives and livelihoods.” It has resources including a 14 page Planning tool to help businesses reopen.

Safe Work Australia is where to go for information on COVID-19 in relation to workplaces. It also has downloadable resources and checklists.

Safe Work Australia recommends creating a ‘COVIDsafe’ plan that includes a Risk Assessment, Management Plan, and a Risk Communication Plan (2 stepped that details outbreak management and contact management). Eliminating the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for arts workers and audiences comes under the existing Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws and will be managed by the Public Health Unit and enforced by the Bio Security Act.

It seems that for the foreseeable future, all workplaces (apart from schools) must enforce the restriction of 4m2 per person as well as 1.5m between each person. Any return to work needs to consider social distancing, limit social interactions, and implement a 'hierarchy of controls' (including hygiene, cleaning, ventilation, and PPE).

The sector is working on a recovery framework (nationally and state), and guidelines (protocols) for how to safely reopen are being developed by various industry groups. The Australia Council is developing industry specific protocols for reopening in liaison with the NCCC, and will be consulting over the next few weeks.

Live Performance Australia is developing a best practice ‘restart’ and response plan, for live performance - they have two working groups: Live Events Industry Forum and Live Theatre Industry Forum.


The situation is still changing rapidly, the Australia Council are providing up to date information:

https://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/about/covid-19/


Here are a few practical resources:

· Department of Health: www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

· Prime Minister’s website: www.pm.gov.au/media

· World Health Organisation: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

· The Office for the Arts: www.arts.gov.au/covid-19-update


There is also an arts focused wellbeing help line is also available via Support Act

If you are struggling and need immediate help call:

Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or text the helpline on 0477 13 11 14

Beyond Blue has a comprehensive list of national help lines and websites


In relation to the Regional Arts Fund

The Office for the Arts is mindful of the potential impact COVID-19 could have on the health and livelihoods of RAF grant recipients. There may also be an impact on grantees’ ability to deliver funded activities to the community.

The Office of the Arts has provided the following general advice.

In relation to the current round, please continue to assess applications as submitted.

In relation to projects already funded under RAF, the Office for the Arts would encourage as much flexibility as possible. Extensions of up to 12 months will be acceptable under the circumstances. Should the project need to be cancelled, it would be acceptable for the grantee to acquit the funding they have spent (including artist and participant fees for time already spent on the project) and return any unspent funding. This would be the last resort if a revised project scope/timeframe could not be agreed.

We are in the final stages of putting a program together for the Recovery Boost funding provided by the Federal government and will release information about this in the near future. Please keep an eye out.

Several of the Regional Program Administrators have COVID specific funding rounds open at the moment. For more information please contact the RPA in your state or territory:

ACT: artsACT

NSW: Regional Arts NSW

NT: Regional Arts Fund NT

Qld: Flying Arts Alliance

SA: Country Arts SA

Tas: RANT

Vic: Regional Arts Victoria

WA: Regional Arts WA

As the situation unfolds we continue to follow the best advice available, and to look after each other as best we can across our personal and professional communities.

We are all in this together.

RAA Team