News

18 Feb 2021

Victoria Announces Parliamentary Inquiry into Events and Tourism Sector

via Save Victorian Events

Save Victorian Events welcomes vote by Victoria’s Legislative Council to establish a parliamentary inquiry into support for Victoria’s Tourism and Event Sectors.
This is a direct result of nearly two thousand people and businesses from right across Victoria’s Event Industry working together to highlight the desperate situation in our industry. The inquiry can finally shine a light on the truly appalling way Victoria’s iconic Event Industry has been treated throughout this pandemic.

And, we hope, will cause the Victorian Government to finally act, and act quickly, to put in place the urgently needed support so that we do not lose an entire generation of people and businesses from our event industry at the end of March.

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Early last week we learnt that 83% of Event Industry businesses will need to let staff go (43%) or potentially close their business (40%) if JobKeeper is not extended beyond March.

Sadly, the week ended with a lockdown and border closures which have dealt another massive body-blow to Victoria’s Event Industry – at a time when events were only just starting again.

A snap survey overnight has shown this has already caused many events – as far out as September – to be cancelled or moved interstate because the little confidence in holding events in Victoria that was left is now gone.  We expect this to get worse as the week progresses.

94% said the lockdown will have an impact on people being willing to hold events in Victoria, and 92% believe the lockdown will have an on-going impact on their work and income.

But the words of event people (below) shows the real anguish and pain.

Without urgent action from the government, we will now see business closures and job loses in the Event Industry even worst than last week’s survey predicted.


Risk of Cancellation

The very real fear that the event might be cancelled and all those involved might lose everything is now the single biggest thing stopping events happening in Victoria.  
The lockdown and border closures have shown this fear to be very well founded.
No commercial insurance company will currently insure against this risk.
Many organisations do not have the ability to cope with the huge financial costs of a last minute cancellation of their event – as it would send them broke.
Very few can justify taking such as risk as the potential consequences are so great.


COVID Cancel Insurance

In a number of countries, the government will now cover losses from events cancelled due to Covid.  Germany provides a good example: https://www.iq-mag.net/2020/12/germany-announces-e2-5bn-event-cancellation-fund/
It could be structured like insurance.  Event organisers pay a premium – e.g. 1% of total costs of the event – to the government fund to cover against Covid cancellation.  This would help fund the scheme.
Reducing the financial risks from cancellation would greatly increase the number of events in Victoria in 2021 and greatly help our industry to survive.


Financial Support to Event Industry Businesses

To be able to survive past the end of JobKeeper in March, and until events traditionally start to pick up from September, event industry businesses need some direct financial support – as last week’s survey clearly shows.

Tasmania provides a good example of an approach.  Late last year they gave event industry businesses – including suppliers – grants of up to $100,000 to help them to survive and to enable them to gear up again for the return of events.  https://smallbusinessconnections.com.au/tasmania-announces-2-5m-small-business-grants-for-events-industry/
We desperately need a similar program in Victoria.

The $10+ Billion Event Industry Has Received No Financial Support

While the government has given $485 million to tourism and $1.46 billion to the Arts, as well as financial support for sport, hospitality, etc…, there has been no financial support to businesses in Victoria’s Event Industry.  
This is despite the Event Industry being one of the hardest hit industries – with many not having done an event since March 2020.  And despite the huge contribution that events, and the Event Industry, makes to Victoria.
The Event Industry needs urgent action from the Victorian Government.

Victoria had long been Australia’s event capital.  Rather than being forgotten, the Event Industry should be central to the strategy to drive Victoria’s recovery.

Save Victorian Events was started in July 2020 as a campaign to give a real voice to the businesses and people who are actually working in Victoria’s Event Industry.  More than two thousand members of the event industry have actively participated in our campaign to date.

Quotes from the Victorian Event Industry

“Lack of confidence for my clients. I’m starting to have events in August, September being canceled. Work is going to interstate event agencies.”
“Even though we lost one job, it was the only one we had on our books. So we’ve lost 100% of up coming work.”
“Cancelled events and uncertainly with events in March and beyond.”
“No rigging jobs as all events cancelled.”
“People were just starting to book events and activities again and are nervous about paying money because of fear if exactly this type of no notice lockdown action.”
“It’s sending me broke. I’ve worked so hard to grow my business slowly and it’s all vanishing before my eyes.”
“Our clients are terrified of planning any future events.”
“Something has to change. There was already a huge skills shortage now we are loosing a generation of skills and expertise that we cant replace who are finding whatever work they can elsewhere and wont come back.”
“Our industry has always been the first to help and support others.  And for all that, we are the last to be thought about.”
“We are close to seeing light at the end this long tunnel and without direct support I believe we will fail at the 11th hour.”
“Events cancelled, crews have been put on site on Friday and the clients pulled the pin. We have a large weddings team, flower arrangements were all done and will now be binned as it cannot be kept.”
“The event industry is being decimated. Business closures are a fact. Employee migration away to other industries is widespread and mostly permanent. The mental health issue is now my greatest concern for the event family.”
“Having financial “insurance” against losses caused by COVID restrictions would give many event organisers the confidence to try and stand events back up again. Similar schemes are running in Denmark, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.”
“This latest lockdown has cancelled events scheduled to go ahead after positive changes to guidelines on event gatherings. My business is gone without an extension to govt welfare and business relief mechanisms.”
“Currently by the end of March I will be living on the street.”
“Contract shortened at event agency where I am freelancing as their client has decided to postpone event… My contract will finish at end of Feb instead of end of March.”
“Clients are not prepared to commit to plans that involve gatherings or interstate travel of attendees.”
“Jobs that were being quoted and booked in have either now cancelled or postponed due to the uncertainty.”
“Devastating, yet again. This is like a king hit to the head.”
“Two events scheduled over the next week cancelled.”
“Events cancelled, crews have been put on site on Friday and the clients pulled the pin. We have a large weddings team, flower arrangements were all done and will now be binned as it cannot be kept.”
“Tickets for our festival went on pre sale Wednesday…. It’s now unlikely we will sell out, best case scenario we may break even. This event was our only means to keep the business afloat, without a profitable event we will be forced to close out doors which is heartbreaking.”
“We lost work for the lockdown days and several events over coming weeks are considering postponing.”
“When every bit counts $6k is huge.”
“Have had to cancel events and refund Produce thrown away and pay suppliers for floral still.”
“The work has been cancelled with no rescheduling.”
“Border closures mean we are not able to participate in events we are contracted too interstate. These are events we are currently contracted to deliver services to.”
“Working at the Australian Open and closure has meant that required onsite activities can no longer continue.”
“Can’t go interstate and therefore we’ve lost a job.”
“I had to get another driver to drive my truck to SA and hire people from Sydney to do the job. 2 other jobs cancelled completely.”
“We have had 5 clients cancel due to border closures as it is too difficult to plan for snap border closures.”
“Event cancellation – loss of income from reduced work opportunity. Mental health worry with dealing with this again & uncertainty of how much more this will happen in coming months/year.”
“Put staff off, need to refund money to clients.”
“All events cancelled. Little to no chance of rescheduled shows.”
“This is devasting. I was on my way to Tullamarine when I got told to turn back and go home. I’ve been crossing off events from my calendar every day.”
“Devastating, have lost everything.”
“Events shifted from venue based live with a online component to now all online.” 
“We can’t travel to events in other states so need to play external contractors to take our place.”
“My biggest event meant to be tonight. I was working on it for 1.5 years. Most deliveries were already made yesterday prior to announcement. I am devastated.”
“We had a huge wedding booked for today (13th Feb.) with a 2 day set up, we heard the news mid set up yesterday it wasn’t going ahead. Months of planning and countless hours had already been put into this event… Let alone the stress it has put on myself, my team, the rest of the suppliers, the venue and the heart broken couple. It is utterly devastating for everyone involved.”
“All of show shows have been canceled for the next 5 days, after that if we don’t go back to where we were then another month of shows could be cancelled.”
“Unable to plan and move forward at all for the next few months.”
“We have lost all of our hire and styling orders for this weekend. All work performed by our staff in the lead up to these events has produced zero revenue and we still have to pay our staff.”
“All cancelled and all future events in doubt.”
“Its stopped people thinking about doing events.”
“Customers lost all confidence in attending and holding events.”
“Anyone organising an event this year is taking a chance, but the odds have now changed considerably.” 
“The corporates have no confidence. One sponsor pulled out of the event I’ve been speaking of, which meant the whole job got cancelled. This will keep happening.”
“Creates zero confidence to invest in events to help kickstart regional economies. Especially after having to wear heavy costs over the past 12mths with zero turnover.”
“Nobody has any confidence in Victoria and its promises to “Stay Open” Events are moving interstate already and the Victorian economy must be loosing millions in taxes.”
“It will reset the clock on how long it takes the state to re-open. All events in the next eight weeks will be in jeopardy of being cancelled, and no one will be planning anything new for at least another three months.”
“Everyone will be more hesitant to plan event due to the uncertainty of what can happen in the future and the fact that lockdowns can ruin events within hours.”
“Like many others we are relying on these next two months of warm weather to be able to make some money to keep our businesses alive. If we continue like this with no government support the industry will completely fall over!”
“We work all over the country and event organisers are nervous about engaging us as usual because border closures may prevent us from being able to fulfill our obligations.”
“People were just starting to book events and activities again and are nervous about paying money because of fear if exactly this type of no notice lockdown action.”
“It’s sending me broke. I’ve worked so hard to grow my business slowly and it’s all vanishing before my eyes.”
“Our clients are terrified of planning any future events.”

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