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On 27 March 2020, Writing NSW signed the National Association for the Visual Arts’ letter to the Prime Minister, ministers and lord mayors on COVID-19. Please see the letter on NAVA’S website here and the media release here.

Please see below a message from our CEO Jane McCredie, which was shared in our e-newsletter, Newsbite on Monday 23 March. Subscribe to Newsbite here and our social media channels to stay updated.

On Monday 16 March, we published Writing NSW CEO Jane McCredie’s response to the COVID-19 crisis in Newsbite. Read the full letter here.

COVID-19 Resources and Support

Writing NSW is committed to providing the most recent advice relevant to our sector during the COVID-19 crisis. Below is a list of support options and resources for writers affected by COVID-19. We will continue to update the list as information is updated, though be sure to subscribe to our weekly e-newletter, Newsbite, for regular advice, tips and resources here.

For more information on the resources and services we provide to writers, please see our Resources For Writers page.

Our friends at Writing WA and FBi Radio also maintain resource and support sheets for writers in the coronavirus outbreak on their websites. As always, please defer to the Department of Health’s alert system for the most recent and relevant advice.

Financial Assistance and advice:

The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians financially affected by the coronavirus, including increased income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation. Full details are available on The Treasury website.

If you are having difficulties meeting your tax and super obligations, the Australian Taxation Office has introduced a number of concessions which might help. More details are available on their website.

The Government has temporarily waived the asset test and waiting periods for the Jobseeker allowance, while a new Coronavirus supplement will be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight to both existing and new recipients. This effectively doubles the current JobSeeker allowance. One-off COVID-19 crisis payments for people receiving government payments have also been made available. More information here.

Applications to the Australia Council for the Arts’ Resilience Fund are now open. Artists and arts organisations are encouraged to apply to to support their livelihoods, practice and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Writers Benevolent Fund administered by the Australian Society of Authors, while not able to provide income support, may be able to assist you if you are experiencing financial difficulties. In the past, the Fund has distributed grants to authors in financial distress as a result of a sudden illness, accident or disability. Application forms are available here.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, the National Debt Helpline offers free financial counselling.

The Australia Council for the Arts recently announced its first response package, which is of relevance to arts organisations as well as individual practitioners.

The Arts Law Centre of Australia has created an information sheet to walk you through your legal rights as an artist dealing with the fallout of COVID-19. View it here.

Note: be sure to respond to Writing WA’s NWCN survey to help map the full impacts of the coronavirus on our sector. This data will be used in lobbying for stimulus and support packages for not-for-profit organisations and individual practitioners. The ACT Writers’ Centre has also set up an online survey to help writers document their economic losses as a result of the coronavirus.

Resources for migrating your events/audience online:

The knowledgeable Digital Arts Festival has compiled a handy list of tips and tricks for moving events you would have otherwise held in person online. Eventbrite has also created a list of instructions for using Zoom, a popular online event hosting solution.

National Funding Opportunities:

Create NSW’s Small Project Grants (Quick Response) guidelines have been redefined to address the current situation of social distancing and cancellation of non-essential travel, including allowing artists and cultural workers to access outstanding local online opportunities. More information is available here.

Arts South Australia have opened their COVID-19 Arts Grants for creatives in South Australia. These grants will support art making, creative development and professional development across all art forms.

City of Melbourne have pledged $2 million in grants for creative organisations and artists impacted by COVID-19. Grants will support creatives to invest in new works and digital presentation of works and performances. More information is available on the City of Melbourne website.

Staying Healthy:

The National Coronavirus Helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week for information on coronavirus.

Beyond Blue is working hard to develop a COVID-19 Mental Health Support Service with the support of the Australian Government. The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 22 4636.

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support. Call 13 11 14 for assistance.

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