COVID-19 restrictions have severely impacted numerous businesses over the last year, with independent cinemas among the many who have taken a hit.
Thanks to Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan's tireless efforts though, they are about to receive a helping hand with a $20 million fund about to be made available.
The Supporting Cinemas' Retention Endurance and Enhancement of Neighbourhoods (SCREEN) Fund, administered by Screen Australia, will assist independent cinema operators with a one-off business continuity grants of up to $85,000.
Majestic Cinemas' CEO Kieren Dell said he welcomes the $20 million support package.
"I have been working closely with our local Members of Parliament - Pat Conaghan and Dr David Gillespie - both of whom I would like to thank for their support," he said.
"This support will go a long way to keeping us open and able to keep employing all our staff for the next 4 to 5 months, by which time we are hopeful to be back to a normal movie release pattern and seeing increased audience numbers."
Independent cinemas - including Majestic Cinemas - represent around 30 per cent of the cinema exhibition sector in Australia.
Pat said the fund is expected to support up to 390 cinemas across the country to manage the significant economic, health and social challenges they are facing as a result of COVID-19.
"The pandemic has had a devastating impact on cinemas, who have struggled to recover due to circumstances that were out of their control," he said.
"They play a crucial role by providing a popular, low-cost and COVID-safe way for people to go out and enjoy a movie as part of a community - particularly in regional areas.
"We're introducing this funding to help support the viability of independent cinemas during this period when their business circumstances are still returning to normality."
For more information about COVID-19 arts support, visit: www.screenaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-support.
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