More than 100 live music venues in Victoria will receive cash grants to stay afloat during lockdowns and beyond, in a State Government scheme that is also designed to offset the costs of patron caps when COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
In addition, the state's $1.7 billion live music sector will be uplifted by cash grant schemes for industry professionals to create music, as well as planning controls that are more supportive of the scene.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley announced yesterday that 106 live music venues across the state would share in grants totalling $9 million in the first allocations under the Victorian Live Music Venues program.
Venues include the Northcote Social Club, Queenscliff's Blues Train, Westernport Hotel in San Remo, Castlemaine's Theatre Royal, Loop in Melbourne's CBD, Grace Darling in Collingwood, Richmond's Corner Hotel, the Night Heron in Footscray, the Hotel Warrnambool and the Wool Exchange in Geelong.
The grants will support venues that have closed to help stop the spread of coronavirus to cover urgent overheads and put COVID-safe measures in place, while also helping them to reopen and host events when it is safe to do so.
The Victorian Government plans to announce a second round of cash allocations to other eligible venues in due course.
A state-first planning policy will also further protect Victoria's live music venues during the pandemic and beyond, with permanent planning controls whereby councils will have strengthened power to protect significant music precincts when redevelopments are proposed.
Under these new controls, councils will be able to identify these live music areas and consider the social, economic and cultural importance of live music venues as they make decisions on local planning permits.
Another measure announced yesterday is the $3 million Victorian Music Industry Recovery program, offering grants of $4,000 to $50,000.
The funds will be for artists, managers, promoters, bookers, road crew and other workers to keep creating music, undertake professional and business training and develop COVID safe ways of working.
Recognising that summer is usually a bumper period for the music industry, the program will focus on activities taking place from December onwards.
It includes dedicated streams for First Peoples and Deaf and Disabled applicants. Applications will open at noon on Monday, 21 September and close on 22 October 2020.
A further $1.2 million has been allocated to 10 music organisations and peak bodies to deliver professional and business development programs to a diverse range of Victorian music industry professionals.
Among the initiatives is Push Records, a new youth-led record label and training program by The Push; a wellbeing training and mentorship program for roadies and live music events professionals by CrewCare.
The scheme also includes a creative development program for First Peoples musicians and industry workers by Songlines Aboriginal Music Corporation.
"In ordinary times, Victorian music venues hosts tens of thousands of gigs each year reaching millions. We don't want to lose Victoria's music scene," Premier Andrews said.
"We'll continue to support our venues, our musicians, and the many workers who bring this $1.7 billion industry to life are able to reopen stronger than ever and welcome us back for a COVID Normal summer."
"Our music scene is much loved across the state and envied the world over. This support will protect our grassroots venues, save jobs and music businesses, and keep local music playing well beyond this pandemic," added Minister Foley.
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said live music venues were the "heart and soul of Melbourne and towns across the state".
"Going forward, councils will have to consider these new planning controls as they make decisions on local planning permits," he said.
These support mechanisms are part of $90 million in funds from the Victorian Government for the creative industries to help them get through the pandemic, and are also in tune with a hospitality initiative to promote and prepare industry for outdoor dining.
Today the government is also expected to launch the latest $200,000 round of the Pride Events and Festivals Fund.
Organisations are invited to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for events and projects for LGBTIQ communities which can be run online before 30 June 2021.
The Pride Events and Festivals Fund is now in its third year. For the first time, all events must be able to take place online and be held in line with current coronavirus restrictions at the time of the activity.
Updated at 11:14am AEST on 21 September 2020.
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