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Media Release: $250m Arts Package - It needs to go further

Ausdance NSW welcomes the federal government’s announcement on Friday of a rescue package specific to the Arts industry. The package is a start to enabling the arts industry to survive in the short term. It needs to go much further with a long-term view of recovery.

The $250m is made up of many parts, grants, loans, and subsidies. Ausdance NSW is very concerned that loans will place artists and arts companies at higher risk of insolvency in an untested, post-COVID landscape in an already under-funded Industry. Particularly as the re-opening of venues, the impact of social distancing, and return to operating at full capacity is still unknown.

The arts are enjoyed and wanted by millions of individuals, families, and communities across Australia. They provide artistic, creative, health and social benefits as well as contributing to tourism and the broader Australian economy equating to over 6% of the GDP.

While welcoming this $250 by the Australian PM, in comparison Jacinda Arden, NZ PM announced in May, an Arts Package of $175m – equivalent to AU$163.5. The approximate population of NZ is 4.8milion and Australia 25.5million.

Given Australia's population is about 5.3 times more than NZ surely the Australian Package should reflect that? 

Or are the government saying all Australian's don't deserve that? 

Based on the same monetary approach of the NZ Arts Package (relative to populations) the Australian Arts package would be $866.5m. Australia's geography, scale, and infrastructure would also need to be factored in.

The Australian package represents only 20% of the arts rescue package in NZ on a per capita basis. What does this mean for the Australian people? What does this mean for the future of dance and the arts more broadly? If the rescue package only meets 20% of demand and need, how will the government decide who gets access to and to participate in the arts? Which state, which area, metro, or regional, which child will you pick? Will that really reflect the arts, cultures, and creativity of Australia? 

Surely every Australian should have access to the arts.

The package, It’s a start, I hope it is the first step and there is more to come. Ausdance NSW also supports calls to extend JobKeeper and JobSeeker while social distancing is in place, acknowledging that no artist or arts company can operate at full or nearly full capacity while social distancing is in place.

Ausdance NSW supports the immediate expansion of JobSeeker and JobKeeper to include the thousands of casual and freelance artists who are currently ineligible for support.

We will continue to work with our many colleagues to advocate for the arts. We feed into state and federal discussions, papers, send direct feedback to government ministers. Ausdance is on the COVID19 National Arts Roundtable discussions, with the Federal government, also attended by the Australia Council for the Arts. The dance survey created by Ausdance with the Australia Council provides critical data about the loss of the dance sector. Numbers inform government, please fill it in if you have not already. Read Ausdance National's response here.


Michelle Silby

Executive Director, Ausdance NSW and Victoria

Read the full statement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison '$250 million JobMaker plan to restart Australia's Creative Economy' 25 June 2020 here>>>

Responses to the JobMaker Package from fellow Arts orgnaisations:

Ausdance National

Australia Council


Live Performance Australia

Theatre Network Australia

Media Release: Dance Class maximum increased to 20

Ausdance NSW welcomes the news that dance classes can resume tomorrow with a maximum of 20 people. Please be aware that the official government websites and industry safety plans may not have been updated yet wit this information. 

Our email confirmation of this from the Ministry for Health below for you to share with your communities, students, staff, boards, and others. 


“The NSW Government is taking a staged approach to the relaxation of measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, in line with National Cabinet’s three-step approach. 

NSW Health is working with other government agencies, including Safework NSW, to ensure that businesses can be reopened as early as safely possible, based on the data and best available health advice. 

Restrictions on dance studios are easing 13 June 

Reflecting the community’s diligence in complying with the COVID-19 measures and successfully suppressing transmission, the NSW Government has commenced relaxing restrictions. In light of recent announcements, including by the Premier this morning, a wider range of activities will be permitted from 13 June 2020. Specifically, gyms, health, and dance studios will be permitted to re-open with up to 20 people per class in an indoor venue. Hygiene measures and the four square metre rule must still be applied at all times. As Julia noted, you can find the latest information on what you can and can’t do under current restrictions at 

COVID Safety Plans 

Business owners are expected to develop a COVID Safety Plan to provide a framework to identify possible health risks and outline the measures that will need to be taken to address those risks in their business. There is a checklist for items that should be considered in developing a COVID Safety Plan for gyms including dance studios, available at 

There may also be other issues that need to be considered at individual dance premises. 

The NSW Government will not be approving individual plans as each of these need to be tailored to the specifics of that premises. The onus is on organisations, as employers, to develop appropriate plans and ensure compliance with such plans.” 



For a PDF of the updated government COVID-19 plan to include Dance Studio, from NSW Government here>>>

Susan Doel - General Manager 

Ausdance NSW 

For all inquiries please email

Download the Ausdance Return to Dance Guidelines here>>>

Statement From Ausdance NSW

Dear Ausdance members, independent dance artists, dance organisation and companies, supporters and friends,

Ausdance NSW is committed to the safety of our staff, artists, members and associated organisations. We have been and will continue to monitor the issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and how to minimise the spread of the virus.

As a result, Executive Director Michelle Silby, General Manager Susan Doel and the team, Lauren, Kate, and Remi, will be working remotely. This means our office in The Rocks is currently not staffed.

Especially during these uncertain times, the Ausdance NSW team will maintain our high-quality care and engagement with the diverse community of dancers, teachers, and students in the State. We are very aware of the dramatic financial, mental and artistic impacts this crisis is having in our sector especially for independent artists and organisations. Please email and call us. We will happily arrange phone and online meetings. We are currently having sector meetings over zoom, please do get in touch if you wish to attend.

What we are doing:

  1. All Ausdance NSW events will be cancelled until further notice. Including Open Classes in partnership with ReadyMade Works and Professional Arts Learning Series – Primary Creative Arts. All ticket holders have been contacted.
  2. We are sharing information through social media from updates on restrictions, funding and other annoucenments as well as a virtual 'What's On' to keep everyone updated of classes and performances that are still going ahead online.
  3. We will continue to promote the value and needs of dance in the NSW arts sector and are speaking to all levels of Government to take action on the #Livesupport campaign from Live Performance Australia
  4. We will maintain resources specific to dance and the COVID-19 pandemic on our website
  5. We will continue to meet and speak to everyone who contacts us for support, advice and sharing information. We will gather this information as data to further our advocacy work during this crucial time
  6. We are taking the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our staff and sector very seriously

What members and dancers can do:

  1. Register any loss of income in the Ausdance Sector Survey.
  2. Follow #Livesupport
  3. Look at the Return to Dance guidelines and framework from the Ausdance National Network.

LPA has recorded that over 20, 000 work opportunities have been cancelled impacting more than 190, 000 people.

Please contact the team if you would like to talk about the situation, need information or just to have an online-virtual-dancing coffee.

This is a time to take care of each other. 

Susan Doel:

Lauren Vassallo:

Kate Maguire Rosier:

Remi Harvey:


From Executive Director Michelle Silby​ and the Ausdance NSW Team, Susan, Lauren, Kate, and Remi.


Support Act Wellbeing Helpline 1800 959 500 – a free, confidential service, available 24/7 to anyone who works in the performing arts. We are doing our very best to keep up with the additional demand, but there may be a slight delay. If you or someone you know is at immediate risk, please contact the Emergency Services on 000.

Phone Lifeline 13 11 14Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or click here for additional services.

Visit ‘Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak’ from Beyond Blue.


Ausdance National COVID-19 Impact Survey for the Dance Sector.

This survey provides an understanding of the immediate and medium-term needs of dance professionals in order to develop sector-specific responses to the impact of COVID-19.

Ausdance as a collective body is collecting state and national data to help support the sector during this difficult time. We need strong sector-specific data to inform and lobby for solutions. Ausdance is working both for members and the broader dance community and welcomes your input at this challenging time.

Please note: this survey is currently being channelled through Ausdance Queensland who have been working with professionals in the industry and with the Ausdance network as this branch was best positioned to do so at this point in time. However, the survey is national and we ask all dance professionals based in Australia to complete it.

Before completing this form please read our policy on data collection and sharing.



Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Some people recover easily, others may get very sick very quickly. There is evidence that it spreads from person to person. Good hygiene can prevent infection. Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. For more detailed information click here>>>



Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, 15 April 2020, Media Release: Immediate COVID-19 relief for Australian media as harmonisation reform process also kicks off. Read here>>>

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, 9 April 2020, Joint Media Release: Targeted Support for Indigenous Arts, Regional Arts, and respected charity Support Act. Read here>>>

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, 7 April 2020, Media Release: Keeping our kids safe online during COVID-19. Read here>>>

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, 24 March 2020, Joint Media Release: Tech sector & Government back Australian businesses during COVID-19. Read here>>>

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, 22 March 2020, Media Release: The Cultural and Creative Sector and COVID-19. Read here>>>

Australian Government - The Treasury, 22 March 2020, Economic Response to the Coronavirus. Read here>>>

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Media Release 16 March 2020. Read here>>>


The National Disability Insurance Agency has published Easy Read advice and information about COVID-19 that’s relevant for people with disability or who are Deaf. 

Click here for the NDIS response>>>

Accessible Arts are the peak arts and disability organisation across New South Wales

Head to their website here Accessible Arts or you can contact them at


World Health Organisation

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

Protect Yourself​ Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. ​

Travel Advice For the most up to date travel advice

Myth Busters Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

For more information from the World Health Organisation head to their Q&A page here>>>

Training Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) training: Online training


Johns Hopkins University & Medicine

Coronavirus Resource Center: Global mapping of the virus


Australian Government Department of Health

Current Status

Coronavirus (COVID-19) news and media

Launch of the coronavirus (COVID-19) campaign

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources A list of resources in English about COVID-19, including fact sheets, guidelines, and other publications.​

Current status in Australia

For daily reports of reported COVID-19 cases, go to the current situation and case numbers.

For what we’re doing to slow the spread, go to Government response to COVID-19.

What you can do

We can all help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia.

Read protect yourself and others for advice on good hygiene, self-isolation, and social distancing.

To help protect people most at risk, follow our advice on public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

Coronavirus Health Information Line

Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

View contact


Our advice for travellers provides information on airport and in-flight biosecurity measures, travel restrictions and other arrangements that apply.


This Way Up - St Vincents Hospital and UNSW - available free for the duration of COVID-19

Support Act - The 24-hour arts support line

The Wellbeing Collective