Assistance for organisations affected by COVID-19

Posted on 24 Mar 2020

By Stefanie Ball, Funding Centre Manager

This page provides information about financial assistance available to not-for-profit organisations and community groups affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. It is updated daily or as we become aware of changes. For the very latest information in these rapidly changing times, please check with the assistance provider.

Looking for tools and information to help your organisation to adapt? Visit the Save Our Sector campaign, run by the Institute of Community Directors Australia (ICDA).Here you’ll find free help sheets, policy templates and more, all created to help your organisation to survive, reinvent and sustain itself through the pandemic and beyond.

Want to know how you can help organisations in need? Visit the GiveNow COVID-19 Response page here.

If you're aware of other grants or assistance that should be listed on this page, please contact If you’re a funder providing support for organisations impacted by COVID-19, submit your information here.

Funding Centre members can browse COVID-19-related grants on our grants database here.


JobKeeper Payment

Not-for-profit organisations, charities and businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible to receive the Federal Government's JobKeeper Payment to retain their employees. The wage subsidy will continue until 28 March 2021. From 28 September 2020, eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment will be based on actual turnover in the relevant periods, the payment will be stepped down and paid at two rates. See payment rates here.

Further changes were announced on 7 August 2020 to adjust the reference date for employee eligibility and make it easier for organisations to qualify for the JobKeeper Payment extension from 28 September 2020. See key dates for more updates.

Charities (other than universities or schools) that are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) can elect to exclude government grants from their JobKeeper turnover test.

Not-for-profit organisations can apply for JobKeeper payments in the Business Portal accessed using their myGovID app. Visit the ATO website for more information and the latest updates.

ATO payment deferrals

For not-for-profits experiencing difficulties, the ATO can defer some payments by up to six months. Payments that may be deferred include income tax, activity statements, pay as you go (PAYG) instalments, FBT and excise payments. Contact the ATO's Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218 for more information on how to access this assistance.

Boosting cash flow for employers

Eligible not-for-profit (NFP) organisations who employ staff will receive between $20,000 to $100,000 in cash flow boost amounts by lodging their activity statements up to the month or quarter of September 2020. The cash flow boosts will be delivered as credits in the activity statement system. They will generally be equivalent to the amount withheld from wages paid to employees for each monthly or quarterly period from March to June 2020. More information on the ATO website here.

Amended guidelines for ancillary funds

To encourage increased distributions to deductible gift recipients (DGRs) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, private and public ancillary funds will receive a credit if they increase their distributions to DGRs by a total of at least 4 percentage points above the minimum distribution rate in 2019–20 and 2020–21. More information is available on the ATO website.


Small Business Digitial Adaptation Program

The Small Business Digital Adaptation Program is a $20 million initiative to help Victorian sole traders, micro and small businesses and not-for-profit entities adapt to a digital operating environment. Applicants will receive a purchase rebate of $1,200 to cover 12 months' access to their chosen product. Registrations remain open until funds are exhausted or 28 February 2021. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Hospitality Business Grant Program

Grants will support food service businesses including not-for-profit organisations affected by the previous Stage 3 and Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria. A one-off, $25,000 grant to pay for business costs to support the continued operation of the business will be available. An additional $5,000 is available for each additional premises located within metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, capped at a total of $20,000. Businesses with premises located in Melbourne CBD will also be eligible for an additional $20,000 grant. Applications are open on an ongoing basis or until funding is exhausted. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

COVID19 - Aged Care Support Program

The Department of Health's COVID19 - Aged Care Support Program will assist Residential Aged Care, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFACP) and Home Care providers that are subject to direct COVID-19 impacts, to deliver continuity of safe quality care for consumers. The program will provide a total of $52.9 million over 2 years. There are different maximum grant levels depending on the service provider. Applications close 31 May 2021 or until the funding allocation is exhausted. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

CHSP Emergency support for COVID-19

The Department of health is providing financial support to existing Commonwealth Home Support Programme providers (CHSP) service providers to enable them to respond to unforeseen and exceptional circumstances that directly impact on existing service delivery arrangements that are beyond their control. Applications close 30 June 2021 or until the funding allocation is exhausted. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.


COVID-19 Creative Economy Support Package

The Federal Government's $250 million COVID-19 Creative Economy Support Package was announced on 29 June and includes the following initiatives:

  1. $75 million in grants through the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund. Grants from $75,000 to $2 million are available to support the delivery and presentation of activities across all art forms to audiences across Australia. Applications open 1 September and close 31 March 2021 subject to availability of funds. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.
  2. Under the $90 million Show Starter Loan Scheme eligible Australian creative economy businesses will be able to apply for loans of up to 50 per cent of the total budget for an activity (or up to $5 million, whichever is the lesser amount) to support the delivery of new arts and entertainment productions or events. Loan terms are for up to five years. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.
  3. $50 million Temporary Interruption Fund (TIF) for Screen Australia to support local film and television producers to restart filming. Applications close 28 May 2021 or until funding is exhausted. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.
  4. $35 million in ‘last resort’ funding to Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations at imminent risk of insolvency as a direct result of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Sustainability Fund provides grants of between $100,000 and $5,000,000. Applications open 31 August and close 31 May 2021, subject to availability of funds. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Australia Council for the Arts Re-Imagine Funding

Australia Council for the Arts is providing two streams of funding to support artists and organisations to re-imagine practice and operations in light of COVID-19 impacts and support future-focused, cross-industry collaborations across and beyond the cultural and creative industries.

  1. The Cultural and Creative Solutions stream will invest in ideas and opportunities that create cultural equity, social inclusion and sustainable business models and careers for artists and cultural and creative workers. Funding: $50,000.
  2. The Industry Collaborations stream invests in strategic cross-industry collaborations that explore new models of development and delivery. This funding stream is intended to leverage additional investment from partners (cash and in-kind) and to establish new frameworks for future partnership models. Funding: $100,000.

Applications for both streams close 23 February 2021. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Additional $10 million for the Regional Arts Fund

An additional $10 million for the Regional Arts Fund will provide crisis relief and targeted support to organisations, artists and arts workers that are critical to delivering the arts to communities in regional and remote areas. Funding will be delivered through the Government's Regional Arts Fund in the 2019–20 financial year. Download the fact sheet for more information, or email

Emergency financial relief for individual artists

1000x1000: Crisis Cash for Artists is a campaign led by Theatre Network Australia and facilitated by Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund to provide emergency financial relief to artists in need. Individual artists who have lost income due to COVID-19 may be eligible to apply. Applications are set to close 31 March 2021, however this is subject to change and may be extended. The Theatre Network Australia will strive to notify applicants within the week. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Support Act Crisis Relief Grants

With funding support from the Australian Government through the Office for the Arts, Support Act has expanded its services to offer Crisis Relief to music industry professionals impacted by COVID-19.

The funding will offer relief to musicians, crew and music workers who are unable to access Government benefits due to eligibility or other issues, and music workers who have been able to access Government benefits but are still facing financial hardship. Applications are ongoing. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

New South Wales

Create NSW COVID-19 measures

Create NSW are supporting the NSW small-medium arts and screen sector through a range of programs. Key elements of the COVID-19 measures announced include the Creative Koori Digital Initiative, the Digitise Initiative Grant, the Health and Wellbeing Initiative Grant, the Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship and the Regenerate Regional Event Initiative. See all of Create NSW’s funding programs on the Funding Centre here.


Arts and Cultural Recovery Package

A $22.5 million two-year Arts and Cultural Recovery Package for Queensland's arts and cultural sector is being administered by Arts Queensland and includes the following new programs and updated programs:

  • The Live Music Venue Support program supports live music venues with a track record in presenting original live music that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 with funding of up to $15,000 for small venues and $25,000 for large venues. Applications are open on an ongoing basis until funding is expended. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.
  • The Arts Queensland Queensland Arts Showcase Program (QASP) funding pool has been increased by $2 million, funding caps per stream have been increased and the funding criteria has been expanded. There are four rounds in 2020/21. The next round opens 15 February and closes 14 March 2021. QASP funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

For more information on changes to any of the above programs visit

Western Australia

Getting the Show back on the Road grants

Getting the Show back on the Road is a shared risk program that supports a percentage of box office loss in the situation where there has been a negative impact due to COVID-19 for the presentation of performing arts and live music events. Applications will be considered from performing arts organisations, live music event producers and presenters, festival organisers and commercial event companies. Applications are ongoing. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.


COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response and Recovery Fund

The COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response and Recovery Fund will provide grants to Aboriginal organisations and community members for initiatives that support emergency relief, outreach and brokerage, cultural strengthening, and social and emotional wellbeing. A minimum of $1 million will be distributed across five regions in Victoria: Metro; North East; North West; South East; South West. Applications close 26 February 2021. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.


Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package

Weekly payments will be made directly to early childhood education and care services to help them keep their doors open and employees in their jobs through the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package. Early childhood education and childcare services do not need to apply for the payments, they will be paid automatically. The payments will commence on 6 April 2020. For more information, see Information for early childhood education and care providers and services.

New South Wales

COVID-19 free preschool funding program

Funding is being provided as a top-up payment to replace a proportion of fee income that is being lost as a result of decreasing enrolments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to support families with cost of living pressures and to support the ongoing provision of 600 hours of early childhood education in the year before school. There is currently no closing date to opt in. The department encourages providers to respond as soon as possible. The timing of payments may be impacted based on the timing of information received from Providers. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.


Community Support Package: an additional $100 million worth of support to more than 300 charities

The Federal Government has promised an additional $100 million worth of support to more than 300 charities. The $100 million is to be allocated over six months as part of a total $200 million community support package. The new relief package includes more than $37 million, to be shared across 200 existing federally funded emergency relief organisations. The funds would support service delivery, including phone support and outreach through home visits to enable organisations to safely drop off items such as vouchers and food parcels.

Funds under the first round of the Community Support Package will be transferred to providers from the week commencing Saturday, 11 April. The Government will work with the sector and allocate the further $100 million over the next six months where it is most needed.

Incentives will encourage philanthropy to distribute more cash to charities and not-for-profits

The Federal Government is creating an incentive for philanthropic funds to give more support to charities impacted by COVID-19, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been declared a disaster for the purpose of establishing Australian disaster relief funds as DGRs, allowing these funds to receive tax deductible donations. See the media release for more information.

Organisations seeking to establish a DGR are encouraged to phone the ATO’s Not-for-Profit advice line on 1300 130 248, or emailing

COVID-19 Rapid Advocacy Fund

Australian Progress, Australian Communities Foundation and Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) have launched the COVID-19 Rapid Advocacy Fund, a donor pool that can inject funds into advocacy campaigns demanding action in response to the pandemic in Australia to support grassroots community groups. They encourage groups to pitch their projects as soon as possible. All grants will be approximately $3,000-$10,000. Currently, the Fund isn’t accepting applications. They encourage applicants to check back again in early 2021 for details of the next grant round. More information is on the Funding Centre.

Charity TV Global Grants

Charity TV Global is an international TV production company based in Australia that combines entertainment with philanthropy. Net proceeds from all filming projects are gifted to philanthropic partners. Charity TV Global's mission is to use entertainment as a vehicle to steer global audiences into 'giving back'. Grants are now available for organisations impacted by Coronavirus. Applicants can register on their website. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Find help on the ACNC website

The ACNC website has some information for not-for-profit organisations and charities about how to deal with staff working remotely and your organisation’s ability to fundraise. So far, there is no information about how affected organisations can continue operations.


Reduced reporting requirements for charities in Victoria

Charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) are no longer required to apply for fundraiser registration; renew their fundraiser registration; or lodge an annual statement with Consumer Affairs Victoria. To benefit from the reduced reporting requirements, your organisation will need to notify Consumer Affairs Victoria of your charity registration with the ACNC via myCAV. Fundraisers that are registered charities still have ongoing responsibilities to Consumer Affairs Victoria and the public. For more information, see Charities information.

DHHS, Red Cross emergency relief support

The Red Cross has been commissioned by the DHHS to deliver an Extreme Hardship Support Program to provide financial assistance, information and referrals to people living in Victoria who are experiencing significant hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and are unable to access other forms of Victorian Government and Commonwealth Government income support. The Brotherhood of St Laurence will support community organisations to identify and support eligible people to apply. More information is available on the Funding Centre.

Western Australia

$159 million COVID-19 Relief Fund

The Lotterywest COVID-19 Relief Fund aims to respond to the hardship being experienced by the Western Australian community as a result the COVID-19 pandemic.

This fund comprises of the following programs:

  1. Crisis & Emergency Relief to help organisations providing support to people experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, to meet their immediate basic needs. Applications are ongoing.
  2. Prevention and Early Intervention to address the longer-term impacts and support social and economic recovery. Applications close 30 April.
  3. Strengthening and Adapting Organisations to foster a more innovative, collaborative and resilient network of not-for-profit organisations and community groups that can better serve the needs of communities during and following the crisis. Applications close 24 February.

Small business stimulus/relief package includes some support for not-for-profit groups

The WA Government small business stimulus/relief package includes some support for not-for-profit groups, including waiving rental payments in State Government-owned buildings for six months. Visit for more information.

McGowan Government community services assistance

The McGowan Government is providing community services assistance through the following measures:

  • Electricity bills for around 2,800 charities will be reduced, with a one-off $2,500 WA Small Business Tariff Offset provided for groups on community service and charitable accommodation electricity tariffs with Synergy and Horizon Power. The offset will be allocated from May 1, 2020 to reduce current and future bills.
  • Government agencies to continue to pay contracts with the sector until at least June 30, 2020, even if providers are unable to deliver services due to impacts caused by COVID-19.

View the media release here.

The Government will also waive rental payments for small businesses and not-for-profit groups in Government-owned buildings for six months through a $25 million rent relief plan. View the media release here.

Higher education relief package key points:

  • The package will support displaced workers to upskill or retrain, and support universities and other higher education providers to continue teaching.
  • Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) payments will be guaranteed in 2020, regardless of any change in enrolments due to COVID-19.
  • 2020 HELP advance payments will also be guaranteed based on the estimates provided late in 2019 with the repayment of any excess advances able to be deferred over the period 2022 to 2029.
  • The majority of fees and charges currently charged by the Australian Skills Quality Authority, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency and the Commonwealth Register of Institutions for Overseas Students will be waived.

More information is available on the StudyAssist website, or read Minister for Education Dan Tegan's press release here.

Note: Many local councils are supporting their community groups through a range of measures including rent payment deferrals and rebates, fee waiver of some services, adapting grant funding rounds to suit current needs, paying outstanding invoices in shorter turnaround periods, etc. Contact your local council to find out what support may be available.


COVID SAFE Active Clubs Kickstart

The Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing’s COVID SAFE Active Clubs Kickstart provides funding of $2,000 to sport or active recreation organisations so they can restart and continue delivery of physical activity opportunities to the Queensland community post-COVID-19. Funding of $2,000 is available. Applications for Round 1 are now closed. Applications for Round 2 will open in 2020/21, with dates TBA. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) grants variations policy

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has a grants variations policy to respond to special circumstances such as the Covid-19 outbreak. If something has changed in your community, they are encouraging grantees to get in touch with them. Visit the FRRR website for more information on how to get in touch.

BHP $50 million Vital Resources Fund

BHP has established a $50 million Vital Resources Fund to help support regional Australian communities in its areas of operation, which are facing the significant challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spending will be focused on the regions surrounding BHP’s Australian operations, including the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland, the Hunter Valley in NSW, Roxby Downs and the Upper Spencer Gulf in South Australia, and the Pilbara and Goldfields regions in Western Australia.

More information to come soon. The Fund is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Western Australia

COVID-19 Youth Recovery Grants Program

The Department of Communities aims to support community initiatives that assist young people during the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic through the COVID-19 Youth Recovery Grants Program. Incorporated not-for-profit organisations or unincorporated organisations with an auspice and local government authorities may apply for grants of $5,000 or $10,000. Applications close 18 March 2021. The funding is listed on the Funding Centre here.

Small Business Relief Package

If your business or not-for-profit has been adversely impacted by COVID-19 your bank will allow you to defer principal and interest repayments for all loans attached to the business for a period of six months through the Small Business Relief Package.

To be eligible, you must have less than $10 million total debt to all credit providers. You need to be current, and not in arrears as of 1 January 2020.

Find out the support available through your bank by using the Australian Banking Association’s Find your bank tool.

Visit the below links to find out the support available through the big four banks.

For more information, view the ABA's press release here, and FAQs here.

Australia's big four banks agreed to speed up loan applications

Australia's big four banks have agreed to speed up loan applications from businesses and not-for-profit organisations who are waiting for JobKeeper payments to come through. Eligible organisations are encouraged to contact their bank to ask for the bridging support.

  • NAB: 1800 JOB KEEPER (1800 562 533)
  • Westpac: 1300 731 073
  • St George: 1300 730 196
  • Bank of Melbourne: 1300 784 873
  • Bank SA: 1300 669 472
  • ANZ: 1800 571 123
  • Commonwealth Bank: 13 26 07

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