National

Melbourne's decimated live music industry handed $13m lifeline

Melbourne's decimated live music industry handed $13m lifeline
The Victorian government has announced $13 million in new funding to keep Melbourne's hard-hit live music venues alive amid months of shutdowns.
In making the announcement today, Minister for Creative Arts Martin Foley said the funds should send a message of "hope and recovery" as the state gets on top of its second coronavirus wave.
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"Melbourne has the highest number of live music venues per capita of anywhere in the world," Mr Foley said.
"And that underpins the whole rich ecology of our contemporary live music sector and the tens of thousands of jobs and the thousands of creative musicians that it sustains."
Creative arts minister Martin Foley unveiled the $13 million package for the live music industry at today's daily coronavirus press conference in Melbourne. (Getty)
Of the $13 million in total funding, $9.6 million will go directly to venues who have been forced to close during COVID-19 lockdowns.
"Hundreds and hundreds" of live music venues had already applied, according to the minister.
A first tranche of 106 venues were announced today, but hundreds more applications are still being processed.
These range from very small venues through to those who can host over 1,200 people.
"There is a sliding scale depending on a whole range of criteria," Mr Foley said.
The venues are set to start receiving funds as early as October as Melbourne begins the process of reopening and the venues finalise their COVID Safe plans.
Before the pandemic: Music fans enjoy the hard rock and heavy metal bands at the Download Festival at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne last year. The live music industry has been decimated by ongoing shutdowns. (Paul Rovere)
"(The funding) will allow us to come back at a more rapid pace to drive music and the fun of music as a key part of Victoria's comeback," Mr Foley said.
He said the aim of the package was to keep the businesses afloat until they were able to reopen.
"This is where the training for our music system and our music ecology happens," Mr Foley said.
"To keep those venues going through this $9.6 million allocation, until the COVID plans can be applied and until they're safely reopening to go ahead, is at the heart of this package."
In touting the new package, Mr Foley said it had already saved jobs, with the Pride of Footscray in inner Melbourne revealing the much-needed funds prevented them from having to let 17 staff go.
A total of $90 million in new funds have been allocated to save the struggling arts industry through the Creative Arts portfolio since the start of lockdowns in March.
Further protections are also being put in place to protect the live venues against closure through amendments to the state's planning scheme.
"We will be strongly encouraging all local Government areas to move quickly once that amendment has happened to protect, not just music venues but live music wherever they are across the state," the minister said.
A further $3 million in support would go to a range of musicians, festivals and music crews.
It comes as Victoria today recorded another marked dip in new cases, with just 14 detected in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
Six of these are linked to a number of Melbourne families who breached lockdown by visiting one another's homes, bringing the total cases connected to that cluster to 40.