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No relief for events and venues in Federal Government’s post JobKeeper package
With the Federal Government announcing its $1.2 billion tourism sector support package yesterday, the events, live music, live performance and venues sectors have been given no indication of whether they will attract relief measures when the JobKeeper program ends at the end of this month.
Announced by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a “ticket to recovery” for the tourism sector, Gary Fitz-Roy, Managing Director at Expertise Events, called the lack of any support for the events sector as a “real kick in the guts”, noting “it seems the event industry has yet again been snubbed and forgotten completely.
“Residents are being given restaurant vouchers and travel subsidies. Yet, the one sector that was shut first, the events and exhibitions industry, has had no acknowledgement or support to allow the sector to rebuild after the end of March.”
Highlighting the business event sector’s direct contribution of $36 billion to the Australian economy, the lack of any extra funds to the flawed $50 million Business Events Grant program highlights where the industry really sits in the government’s priorities, Fitz-Roy also took aim at the multiple industry associations, stating “there are questions and anger being raised around what the exhibition and conference industry associations have tangibly been doing to support the industry, ensuring the government’s awareness about the issues so we are supported.
“It seems they all jump on what others achieve but have been lacking in any big moves and self-initiated actions.
“I seriously believe they are so out of touch with their members’ pain.”
Fitz-Roy called for an agreement on a national border framework to instil confidence backed up by funding to cover the additional costs organisers face in the current situation.
Lobby group Save Victorian Events also expressed its disappointment at yesterday’s announcement calling it a “a very, very sad day”.
In a statement on Facebook, the group advised “pressure is now on the state government to finally act - and we will keep pushing as hard as we can.
“It’s certainly not through lack of effort by thousands of people in the event industry. This will have a huge impact on many great people and businesses.”
On Wednesday, Kerri Glasscock, founding Director of Sydney live performance venue Venue 505, advised that it would close, writing “as an owner of a live music venue, we have no future in NSW without JobKeeper … operating (is) no longer viable.”
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Glasscock, the co-founder of the Night Time Industries Association and co-chair of the City of Sydney’s nightlife and creative sector advisory committee, advised “six months ago the live music industry put out an urgent SOS to the NSW Government to provide support for the state’s independent live music venues. 85% of my colleagues indicated they would close permanently if no strategic support was provided.
“Six months on and no support has come.
“My venue has been the first to fall but it won’t be the last. Live music is the lifeblood of our industry and integral to our cultural identity. The deafening silence of inaction in NSW will result in a reckoning as venues are closed, jobs are lost and our economic contribution to the city and state evaporates.
“The next generation of local Grammy winners, film score writers, chart toppers and global exports will emerge from states such as Victoria and South Australia, which have delivered packages to ensure their venues remain viable.”
Explaining why live music venues should receive a ‘handout’, Glasscock went on to stated “we have never before asked for support despite the decades of NSW Government regulation that has slowly choked our industry and led to the closure of our great band rooms.
“We barely said a word when our industry was left crippled by the lock-out laws. The venues that remain are the last ones standing after decades of mistreatment.”
Images: Brekky Boy perform at Venue 505 (top) and Save Victorian Events (below).
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5th January 2021 - Gold Coast Council announces grants to promote live music
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5th November 2020 - Save Our Stages NSW calls on public to help save the state’s live music industry
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23rd October 2020 - Survey shows over 400 Australian Live Music Businesses face imminent closure
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11th August 2020 - Federal Government announces guidelines on live music restart funding
6th February 2020 - Live music ban lifted for selected NSW venues
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