Crisis relief grants

To be eligible for help, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or have a valid working visa
  • Show that you have been working professionally/in paid work in the Australian music industry for a minimum of 5 years
  • Provide names and details of 2 professional music referees who can verify your work in the music industry
  • Have household expenses which are greater than your household income (and where there are financial impacts due to the crisis)
  • Be experiencing a current crisis that is preventing you from working in the industry, which may include serious ill-health, injury or mental health issues (above and beyond the suffering of everyday experiences)
  • Musicians (e.g. artists, composers, DJs, performers, singers, songwriters)
  • Managers (e.g. artist representatives, managers, personal managers)
  • Crew (e.g. light technicians, roadies, sound technicians, sound engineers, tour managers)
  • Music workers (e.g. A&R coordinators, record producers, music journalists, broadcasters)

With the majority (50%+) of their paid work being in the Australian music industry, for a minimum of 5 years. Busking would not normally be considered as professional music industry work.

Current acute or short term hardship/crisis related to a serious illness, injury, mental health episode, older age, or other crisis that is impacting ability to work in the music industry, where other community, insurance or government assistance is not available.
The crisis must be above and beyond the pain and suffering of everyday life and ordinary human experience.
The grant is aimed at returning the applicant to music work through payment of some essential bills related to getting them through that crisis.

Financial hardship that is not related to a current crisis, such as the result of lack of employment, business expenses, or without evidence to prove the crisis is currently impacting music work.
Events that are within the pain and suffering of everyday life and ordinary human experiences are not considered to be a crisis. Social work or counselling support can be explored in these instances. See Further Resources.

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, evidence such as an eviction notice and support letters must be provided (not a “Notice to Quit” or Notice to Vacate). The purpose of such a grant is to get you rehoused, keep you housed or maintain a tenancy, and get you back to music work. Referrals to housing services and bond assistance must be utilised first where available.
Our Further Resources page has services that may assist you.

Support for older aged musicians, crew and music workers who cannot afford an adequate standard of living or have unexpected needs/illness. This often involves financial assistance in the form of paying bills or other expenses, with our resources targeted at those who need it most. 

General criteria:

  • Aged over 65 for non-First Nations or over 55 for First Nations music workers
  • You may still be working in some capacity, but experiencing financial hardship
  • You are experiencing a current crisis or unexpected issue e.g. dental bill, car registration/repairs, vet bill, rates that are outside of budgeted day-to-day living expenses
  • You have worked in the industry for a significant portion of your professional working life (10+ years). Evidence of work history may be obtained through reference checks or other clarification

Yes, if you apply for a crisis relief grant, your application will be allocated to our First Nations social worker to support you.

Support Act Crisis Relief grants are for music workers who are currently working in music in Australia.
You are not eligible for a grant if you are currently living and working outside of Australia. An exception may be made for older age grants if the applicant has made a significant contribution to Australian music by working professionally for the majority of their working life.

You must include investment property in your application, including any income received from the property, including negative gearing/tax implications. If your annual expenses are more than annual income with this included, you may be considered for a grant.

Applicants who present with a mental health condition must have their music work impacted as a result of their condition. The condition must be above and beyond the suffering of everyday life, and may be an acute or diagnosed mental health condition. You will be asked to provide a mental health care plan or documentation from a medical practitioner, psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor, detailing the condition and impact on your music work. Those without a Mental Health Care Plan or psychologist plan will be referred to the Wellbeing Helpline and/or other mental help support and resources.

Essential household and personal expenses related to the crisis – in the first instance medical expenses related to the crisis and getting the applicant back to work, such as therapy, treatment and medical bills. Other expenses related to inability to work for a lengthy period may be considered e.g. rent and bills associated with loss of music income while recovering from the crisis. 

Items covered within the grant must relate to the current crisis and be assisting the service user to return to their music work (except for funeral and older age related grants).

The preference is for Support Act to make direct payments to the supplier.

Items that will not be covered are:

  • Music equipment
  • Business expenses
  • Rental bonds
  • Household repairs
  • The purchase of vehicles
  • Travel expenses
  • Legal fees
  • Personal debts
  • Years of experience (you must have been in the industry for 5+ years)
  • Date you began working in the industry
  • A written description of the role(s) you perform, and job duties
  • Links to your social media pages, event pages or websites showcasing your work

You may be asked to provide evidence such as your ABN, invoices of payment for work you have done, or evidence that you have declared your music earnings to the tax office. 

  • If you’re a sole trader you can apply for a Crisis Relief Grant, however it should be noted that Support Act grants are for essential household, medical and personal expenses related to the crisis. Support Act cannot provide grants for business expenses
  • Income details – Support Act recognises that as a sole trader it can be difficult to differentiate your personal income from your business income. For simplicity, when completing the income section of the application form, please include the profit you earn from operating your business as your income (ie: business income minus business expenses = sole trader profit). Please note that if you pay yourself a nominal wage from your business income, this does not form part of your business expenses. You will need to add any nominal wages that you pay to yourself back into your income calculation
  • Expenses – only include your personal living expenses in the relevant section of the application form e.g. rent/mortgage, food, medical bills. Business-related expenses should have already been deducted from your business income when completing the income section of the application form

Yes. We recognise that many people in our industry need to take on survival jobs to supplement their income. If your income from your work in music has been affected by the crisis, and your household income (including money earned from your survival job) is lower than your household expenses, you may apply.

Yes, if you worked in the Australian music industry for a significant portion of your professional working life (10+ years) and your household income (including money earned from any other jobs) is lower than your household expenses.

Yes. We will consider applications from dependents who have been impacted financially by the loss of the person who worked in the music industry.

Yes. If you have previously applied for and received a Crisis Relief Grant, you will need to wait 12 months before you can apply again. There is a maximum of two consecutive years eligibility and the presenting issue must be different from any previous grant.

Yes. Support Act abides by state and federal privacy laws and all of our staff are bound by a confidentiality agreement. This means that the information you provide will be treated confidentially at all times. No personal details of your application are disclosed to anyone outside of Support Act. 

We may contact your referees if we need to verify that you work professionally in music, and will discuss this with you if this is required. We will not disclose any information details about your application for support. 

You can read our privacy policy here.

No. All our grants are awarded on the basis that they do not need to be repaid. However, we do require you to inform us if your circumstances change during the application process.

If you are in a position in the future to donate to Support Act, you can do so here.

Our advice is that it will not, but if in doubt, we advise you to consult with the relevant Government entity.

The advice we have is that the grant payments we are providing may not be taxable income, as they could be considered a charitable gift.

If you received these funds as a cash grant lump sum, then they can be considered emergency relief and therefore not taxable income, or assessable income in terms of Centrelink payments. This is why the funds must be spent on personal essential expenses.

However, as everyone’s circumstances are different, this is general advice and does not constitute financial advice. Support Act does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information and such information is given without reference to your particular circumstances. Support Act is not a financial adviser and you should consider seeking independent legal, financial or taxation advice to check how the information relates to your unique situation.

No.

Apply via the application form here.

Once your application is received, it can take up to 21 days for one of our social work team to contact you to discuss your application.

Your application will be assigned to a social worker who will contact you for further details. They will ask you for further information and documentation to support the current crisis, as well as documentation for payments if the grant is approved.

They will then compile a report to address the criteria for approval by the CEO. The social worker will advise you of the outcome and if approved, link you with an administration officer to help process payments.

The social worker will also link you into any other services that may be able to support with your situation.

We can also help with the cost of funeral expenses for loved ones who have worked in the music industry. We are able to contribute up to $5,000 towards the cost of a funeral (not wakes or memorials). You can apply here.

We have Tax Help grants for those who are overwhelmed by a backlog of un-lodged returns or need assistance with financial literacy. 

Support Act is the only organisation that provides crisis relief in the music industry, but there are many other arts grants that can be applied for throughout the year. While these grants are competitive and ours are not, they are definitely worth researching further. Check out Creative Australia for more information. For performing arts grants, check out the Actors Benevolent Fund (NSW). 

See Further Resources page for other options for financial or community support, including Financial Counselling. 

Mental health support and programs

We provide a range of mental health support programs for all members of the music community, from free online workshops to Mental Health First Aid Training and Workplace Wellbeing Check-Ins, as well as our First Nations developed and led mental health and wellbeing training programs.

You can check out our latest programs here.

We also have a fantastic range of resources on the website that cover a range of topics from depression and anxiety to managing conflict and stress. Check them out here.

Check out our events page here or follow us on social media to find out the latest events and how to register.

Yes they’re open to everyone in the music industry.

If you still have questions and require assistance, please contact us at support@supportact.org.au