The Federal Government has confirmed the $50 million Temporary Interruption Fund (TIF) will provide coverage if productions incur additional expense due to delays caused by COVID-19.

That will protect producers if key cast or creatives contract the disease and are unable to work.

“This addresses concerns arising from COVID-19 exclusions from insurance policies,” a spokesperson for Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, told IF today.

“Financiers can commit to productions while TIF acts as an important bridge to allow them to resume production while a market-based solution is expected to be developed.”

The government announced the fund last week as part of a $250 million rescue package for the arts and entertainment industries.

It said the fund administered by Screen Australia will operate for 12 months and is designed to support screen producers to secure finance and start filming again.

Guidelines detailing the eligibility criteria for productions to access coverage will be released soon by Screen Australia.

The fund will be available for productions commencing in the 2020-21 financial year.

Last month See-Saw Films’ Emile Sherman and CJZ’s Nick Murray made a detailed submission calling on the government to underwrite the pandemic insurance risk.

Applauding the move, Murray tells IF: “It’s changed the discussion from ‘if we can get going again’ to ‘when we get going again,’ an outstanding demonstration of what can be achieved when the industry and government collaborate on a problem.

“Australia is only the second country to have this kind of scheme after France – and the French scheme is much more limited. We’re looking forward to getting back to work.”