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Australian live entertainment groups call for federal insurance guarantee

Australian live entertainment groups call for federal insurance guarantee
August 11, 2021

Live Performance Australia, the Live Entertainment Industry Forum, the Australia Festival Association (AFA) and Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) have joined together to renew calls for the Australian Government to provide a federal insurance guarantee to the live performance sector.

Renewing demands first made last year, the live entertainment groups’ new call follow the introduction last week by the UK Government of Live Events Reinsurance Scheme - a partnership between the UK Government and Lloyd’s of London insurers, which puts in place policies issued by commercial insurers to live events which include festival and business events as they are open to the public.

It also follows the AFA and Australian Music Industry Network last week releasing a latest report, finding that more than 28,000 live events have been cancelled due to lockdowns since 1st July.

As rolling lockdowns due to COVID-19 outbreaks in multiple states continue, the live performance industry remains one of the hardest hit sectors from the pandemic.

Commenting on the need for a reinsurance scheme, Annabelle Herd, Chief Executive of both Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and PPCA stated “the UK Government-backed scheme is a template for Australia’s Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to provide much-needed confidence to our live music industry following waves of cancellations and lost revenue.

“We need the confidence that this provides. Without a scheme like this, it is going to be a very quiet and sad summer.”

Live Performance Australia Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson added “the UK example shows there is a solution that can be developed in conjunction with industry on commercial terms. We’re not looking for a handout, promoters are willing to purchase an insurance product.

“A scheme underwritten by government just makes it viable for insurers to put policies in the market.”

In the Federal Parliament both Labor and the Greens are reported to be backing urging  the introduction of a such a scheme, with the Greens preparing to introduce a private member’s bill in the Senate.

Greens’ spokesperson for the arts, Sarah Hanson-Young advised “there has been a clear market failure and the government must step in and underwrite an insurance scheme.

“A federal insurance guarantee will plug this massive hole in the insurance market and help get our shows back on the road well into the future.

“The live performance sector isn’t asking for a handout, it is asking for a product that simply isn’t available right now so that they can plan gigs, festivals and events with confidence they won’t keep taking massive financial hits with ongoing restrictions and lockdowns.”

A similar call for a government-backed insurance scheme was made by Labor’s spokesperson for the arts, Tony Burke, in July.

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