Contact Acting Premier James Merlino and Your Local Labor MPs to Push for Real Financial Support Now!

Urgently Needed Financial Support for Victoria's Event Industry

Save Victorian Event's recent survey showed that unless JobKeeper is extended or replaced with similar financial support, 40% of Victorian event industry companies will potentially need to close and a further 43% of companies will need to let staff go.  Further, 69% of freelancers/contractors said they would need to leave the industry and get a job.  This is a distressing situation in our event industry.

The Needed Financial Support

The needed financial support can be summarised as:

- Enabling events to happen again

- Helping businesses keep their key staff

- Helping businesses survive until things pick up later in the year

Enabling Events to Happen Again - Underwriting the Costs of Cancellations

Underwriting the costs of cancellation of events due to Covid exposure or restrictions is critical.

One of the greatest impediments to people holding events at the moment is the risk that the event to have to be cancelled at the last minute due to Covid.  It is currently an uninsurable risk.  The recent Victorian lockdown has shown this risk to be very real and severe.

The event industry is a national industry - as most of us work right across Australia.   The sudden restrictions and border closures in single states have a huge impact on the event industry right across Australia.  They have caused a vast number of events across Australia to not happen as people can't afford to risk losing everything because of a last minute cancellation.

The consequences of a cancellation can be catastrophic for the businesses involved - organisers and supply chain.  

A simple example is if an event has to be cancelled because of an outbreak two days prior to the event date.  At this point nearly all the money is spent, so the organiser - and some of the supply chain - would have to wear all of these costs.  Which would potentially wipe some out.

This is especially true for the not-for-profit sector and charities which use events to generate a large proportion of their income.  Such a loss would wipe many of them out, so they cannot risk it.

Very few are now willing to take the risk of holding live events in Victoria, or holding live events in other parts of the country.  Hence the need for a government scheme to underwrite or insure again losses from Covid cancellations.

Germany provides an example of one of the European schemes:  https://www.iq-mag.net/2020/12/germany-announces-e2-5bn-event-cancellation-fund/  They have established a 2.5 billion Euro program to reimburse event organisers for events that are planned for July to December this year but are cancelled.

It could also be structured more like insurance.  For example, you pay 1% of the expected turnover of your event to be covered for the risk of cancellation.  This way the industry would effectively be covering a significant proportion of the cost.

Helping Businesses Keep Their Staff - Extending JobKeeper of Similar

Our survey showed that on average event industry companies only had 15% of their normal income between April and December.  Yet 85% of companies used JobKeeper to keep on all or some of their staff. This shows an incredible level of commitment to their staff, and shows just how important it is for them to keep their staff to be viable businesses.  

This is why it is so troubling that 83% of companies have said that if JobKeeper ends they will need to let staff go or potentially close their business.

Extending of JobKeeper, or replacing it with something similar, until later in the year to enable event industry businesses to hold onto key staff and to be able to survive until things start to pick up properly in September/October after the traditionally very quiet winter is essential.

Helping Businesses Survive - Direct Support to Event Industry Businesses

Direct financial support to event industry businesses to enable them to survive until events start to pick up again after the slow winter period in September/October, and to enable them to have the working capital they need to be able to gear up again.

We hear so many stories of people having expended all their savings, sold their house and their vehicles to keep going.  But now with a quiet summer/March they need to find a way through the traditionally quite winter until events do start to pick up from September onwards.  Hence they do really need some financial support.

Tasmania provides a good example of this with the grants of up to $100k that it gave event industry businesses - including suppliers - to help them survive until events started again and to give them working capital so they could afford to gear up again for events:  https://smallbusinessconnections.com.au/tasmania-announces-2-5m-small-business-grants-for-events-industry/  The Tasmanian grants were tiered based on the business’s turnover in a normal year.

All three forms of financial support are critical for the survive, and future success, of the event industry in Australia.  There is a role for both federal and state governments in this support.

And while this is based on Save Victorian Event's extensive surveying and discussion with Victoria's event industry, we understand the event industry in many other states is in a very similar position and also needs the same support.