Funding for the arts

Funding for the arts: what's available and how you can get it

Will the Prime Minister's targeted $250 million package of funding to support cultural and creative projects and initiatives save the industry?

WAG playing saxThe arts funding is aimed at kick starting the sector with funding preferencing commercial initiatives that generate jobs and are expected to have a positive economic impact. That is, this is an economic package as opposed to creative or cultural funding.

Outside of the funding package, SupportAct received $10m in funding for COVID-19 crisis relief grants. Crisis funding is accessible to:
  • musicians, crew and music workers who are unable to access Government benefits due to eligibility or other issues
  • music workers who have been able to access Government benefits but are still facing financial hardship; and to
  • those who are suffering financial hardship as a result of injury, ill-health or a mental health issue that is managed through a current Mental Health plan.

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JobKeeper audit case


First reports of ATO audits lands one small business in debt

Imagine going through all the rigmarole to apply for JobKeeper when COVID-19 restrictions were rife, only to find your application rejected months later by Tax Office auditors?

JobKeeper auditThat is what has now happened to one small business owner in Melbourne who took a DIY approach to their JobKeeper application.

The worst part is that they now have a $30,000 debt with the tax office and will not be allowed to recover any JobKeeper payments already paid to their employees.

Because of this, the business is facing a very uncertain future and possibly bankruptcy.

From the outset of the JobKeeper payment subsidy being made available to eligible Australian employers, the ATO has continually cautioned applicants to keep contemporaneous documentation of their calculations and advice to avoid inevitable audit scrutiny.

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ATO on COVID-19 fraud warpath

Tip lines, tax returns and STP

We always knew that a Government scheme swiftly distributing cash during a crisis was going to come with equally swift compliance and review measures, particularly when eligibility was self-assessed. 

Tip lines, tax returns and STPTwo major Australian Taxation Office (ATO) initiatives are searching out fraud and schemes designed to take advantage of the Government's Coronavirus Economic Response Package.

Tip lines, tax returns and Single Touch Payroll
The tip line, tax returns, and single touch payroll are just a few of the data sources the ATO is using to identify "inappropriate behaviour."

The tip line has already delivered its first target with the very public outing in the Australian Financial Review of The Australian Comfort Group, which owns SleepMaker and Dunlop Foams for an alleged scheme to deliberately depress monthly revenue to qualify for up to $11 million in wage subsidies. Internal emails allegedly from an employee who has also lodged a claim under the Fair Work Act against the manufacturer, appear to demonstrate an internal effort to push invoicing to other periods. The Australian Comfort Group have vehemently denied any wrong-doing. 

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Extension of the JobKeeper Payment

The Government is extending the JobKeeper Payment by a further six months to March 2021

Support will be targeted to businesses and not-for-profits that continue to be significantly impacted by the Coronavirus. 

jobkeeper 2.0The payment rate will be reduced and a lower payment rate will be introduced for those who work fewer hours. Other eligibility rules remain unchanged.

Summary
The JobKeeper Payment, which was originally due to run until 27 September 2020, will now continue to be available to eligible businesses (including the self-employed) and not-for-profits until 28 March 2021.

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Parental Leave Pay for self-employed

Increased flexibility for Parental Leave Pay for self-employed

From 1 July 2020, parents accessing the Government's parental leave pay (PPL) scheme will have greater flexibility and options.

Parental Leave Pay Targeting the self-employed and small business owners, the changes introduce a new flexible paid parental leave pay period of 30 days.

Previously, new parents could apply for PPL for a continuous block of up to 18 weeks. The changes split this time period into two:

  • A continuous period of up to 12 weeks, and
  • 30 flexible days.

Parents can take the 18 weeks in one block or, under the new rules, take the 12 week period and then use the additional 30 days at a period and in a way that suits them but before the child turns 2 years of age.  Read more…

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