Music venues across Victoria in Australia will be able to access A$15m in grants to support their survival amid COVID-19, as Melbourne goes back into a lockdown.

Venues, galleries, museums and other cultural businesses in the metropolitan area will be forced to close again from tomorrow (Wednesday) as Melbourne reverts to stage three of its lockdown due to an increase in active COVID-19 cases.

“I know just how tough this will be for these businesses and for their workers. I promise, we’ll have more to say shortly about support to help get you through,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement.

“I also understand six weeks might feel like an eternity. But it’s the time our health experts tell us they need to really get on top of this thing.”

Prior to the lockdown announcement, the Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley, said venues with a capacity between 50 and 1,200 people are eligible to apply for the government’s funding via the Victorian Live Music Venues Program.

Venues will be able to apply for the Victorian Live Music Venues Program from July 16 until August 6 through Creative Victoria.

Clive Miller, chief executive of Support Act, Australia’s sole charitable provider for those specifically working in the music industry, said: “We are encouraged by the recent announcement by the Victorian Government on their package to support live music venues through this crisis.

“The reality is that the current state of our industry will not survive without government intervention. This is particularly the case when you consider the uncertain future of live music. From Support Act’s perspective, any form of assistance to help those working in music is thoroughly welcomed and should be applauded.”

Several other economic support measures have been rolled out amid the pandemic to help individuals, businesses and organisations that have been impacted.

These include A$26.3m for Victoria’s state-owned arts and cultural institutions – including NGV, Arts Centre Melbourne, Museums Victoria, Geelong Arts Centre and Melbourne Recital Centre, as well as A$13m for almost 100 non-government arts and cultural organisations state-wide, among several others.

The targeted funding complements broader Victorian Government initiatives including the A$500m Business Support Fund, which is providing vital support to impacted businesses, including in the creative industries; and the Working for Victoria scheme which is helping those who are out of work to secure alternative employment.

Image: Martin Fisch