30 Sep 2021
Help Save Perth’s Frontier Lighting!
After 21 years Perth’s Frontier Lighting, which enjoys an enviable domestic and international reputation, was forced to go into voluntary administration on Tuesday 28 Septemeber in hope of preventing bankruptcy proceedings. Despite the live production industry being shuttered since March 2020 and the East Coast lockdowns wiping out Frontier’s business, they have not been able to access state government support or the federal SME Recovery Loan Scheme, in yet another demonstration of the failure of state and federal governments and the financial sector to understand the plight of live production businesses.
As we have all done so many times during this pandemic, it’s time to contact the relevant MPs and stop this tragedy before it gets any worse. Pressure on your federal MP, and the local and federal MPs that represent Frontier’s business address can still save them. As this is the first major case facing a production company in Australia that has failed to access support, the action we take now can provide a template to save other businesses that may soon face the same situation. We ask you to share this story, and the story below with:
The MPs that cover Frontier’s business address:
State: Cassie Rowe
Ph: (08) 9277 6898
Federal: Hon Steve Irons MP (electorate of Swan)
Ph: (08) 9355 0099
And YOUR federal MP. You can find your MP in the House of Reps here:
If you are a WA native, please also contact your local member using the same search tool.
Frontier Lighting – Too Little, Too Late – But It Doesn’t Have To Be
CEO of Frontier Lighting Jared Hawke reports he was forced to make the move into voluntary redundancy on Tuesday after the SME Relief Loan he applied for two months ago still has not been granted, and one particular finance company based in Sydney refused to acknowledge the impossible situation his business is in.
“Most of the banks and financiers we have dealt with have been reasonable,” says Jared. “We have almost no income at all right now. While I support Premier McGowan’s decision to keep WA closed to protect our health, you can’t do that and not provide support to businesses like ours. We have no ‘pivot’. Our equipment serves no other purpose. If there aren’t live concerts, touring, and events, we have no business.”
Like every other production company in Australia, Frontier Lighting lost its income when live events were shut down in March 2020. Particularly exposed due to the lack of international touring until at least April 2022, and the complete halt on domestic touring starting with the Sydney lockdown 14 weeks ago, the end of JobKeeper and lack of any other support has led Jared to take the drastic action.
Most egregious though is the fact that Frontier have not been able to access the Federal SME Recovery Loan Scheme, which offers government-backed loans on 20 year terms in order to save businesses like Jared’s. “We applied two months ago, and it’s been back and forth with little understanding of our position and no action,” relates Jared. “We have been knocked back due to the fact that we can’t service the loan at the moment. Well of course we can’t, and that’s the issue these loans are meant to address. We have shown them our figures pre-COVID, and we were very healthy and profitable. There’s no reason we won’t be again once touring resumes. We just need the money to survive until then.”
Even more galling is the reaction of the Sydney-based finance company, who despite being well utilised by suppliers to our industry, is showing a tin ear when it comes to Frontier’s situation. “I’ve been on the phone to them to negotiate a solution,” says Jared. “And they just talk about how WA’s open, they just saw the Grand Final, so why can’t I make any money? They don’t get it, and that’s been the problem with both government and finance all the way through this crisis. It’s not good enough.”
Jared and Frontier face the very real prospect of bankruptcy and losing his house if this situation isn’t turned around. Of course, there are also the many job losses already incurred, and careers abandoned. There is still time to save the situation and prevent others going through the same thing. Please contact the relevant MPs as outlined above.
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