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Protesting insurance crisis operators halt rides at regional shows across NSW and Queensland

Protesting insurance crisis operators halt rides at regional shows across NSW and Queensland
May 14, 2022

Amusement ride operators at nine regional shows across NSW and Queensland have stopped operating their rides over a 15-minute period as part of an protest and the rising cost of public liability insurance.

The ride stoppages, which commenced at the Hawkesbury Show, Australia's largest regional show, have been instigated by the Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association (AALARA) and the Showmen's Guild of Australasia following the Federal Government’s refusal to fund the creation of a Discretionary Mutual Fund (DMF) to insure industry operators - a solution recommended by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

According to AALARA, the Showmen’s Guild and industry operators, the rise in insurance premiums places the future of many amusement ride operators in doubt.

Following a ride stop last weekend at the Hawkesbury Show, Australia's largest regional show, organisers said they hoped to raise awareness of the "public liability crisis" the industry is facing.

Amusement Services Australia Director Amanda McPherson said the rising cost of insurance had brought the industry to a "standstill", telling the ABC “(insurance) premiums have soared through the roof, our own business was halted for 18 months because we couldn't obtain cover.

"Coincidentally around the same time as the pandemic, all the suppliers of public liability just withdrew from the market, we were hit with a double whammy."

AALARA President Shane McGrath said it felt like a "kick in the guts" for the industry, telling the BAC “we were advised the support would come if we followed the process, and yet it wasn't included in the recent budget and last week we received an official rejection of our solution.

"Our insurance costs have gone up by an astronomical 300% in just 12 months which is totally unmanageable for our members.

"The Federal Government will effectively kill the fun for everyone if they don't step up."

In a statement to the ABC’s Radio National Breakfast earlier this week, a spokesperson for Assistant Treasury Michael Sukkar suggested the Federal Government had not rejected the DMF and was "considering the recommendations of the Small Business Ombudsman on the most appropriate mechanism to support the industry".

Showmen's Guild delegate David Allan said the 300% per cent increase was not viable for a lot of ride operators.

Speaking at the Coffs Harbour Show this morning, ahead of the ride stop, Allan advised “we don't want to annoy people, they've paid good money to come in here, it's just 15 minutes to make people aware of our plight.

"We should be applauded … the ones that are here are paying through the teeth for the insurance."

Coffs Harbour is one of nine regional shows across NSW and Queensland that took part in the stoppage.

Show Society President Christopher Pearson said many operators had been significantly impacted by the insurance hikes over the past two years, adding “the protest isn't going to impact showgoers as much as the fee increases.

"There are two rides on the Coffs Harbour showground alone that are just sitting there unable to operate because they can't find the appropriate $20 million insurance."

Other shows that participated in the ride-stop were Bingara, Bourke, Orange, Yeoval, Gympie, Ipswich, Charleville and Brookfield shows.

Some ride operators wore ‘No Insurance, No Show’ t-shirts (pictured).

Related Articles

4th May 2022 - Fearing for the future of the amusement and attractions industry AALARA and the Showmen’s Guilds announce stop work campaign

3rd May 2022 - AALARA updates operators with latest safety guidance

27th April 2022 - Federal Government unwilling to back AALARA’s call for an industry Discretionary Mutual Fund

14th March 2022 - AALARA launches 2022 Conference program

4th February 2022 - Big Red Bash organisers lose $3 million legal battle over COVID-19 cancellation insurance claim

4th February 2022 - AALARA sets up Safe Operation of Inflatables Sub Committee

24th December 2021 - Pop up zip line over Melbourne’s River Yarra proves popular

17th December 2021 - Insurer Sportscover surprised by Small Business Ombudsman’s support for attractions mutual fund

16th December 2021 - Five children dead after inflatable jumping castle blown into air at Tasmanian school

6th December 2021 - Small Business Ombudsman’s report calls for a Discretionary Mutual Fund as solution for amusement and attractions insurance challenges

30th November 2021 - Live music and entertainment industry urges Governments to deliver national insurance scheme as Omicron threatens recovery

18th November 2021 - Risk management the key to way out of attractions industry’s insurance crisis

8th November 2021 - Federal Opposition gets behind events industry’s call for cancellation insurance scheme

25th October 2021 - AALARA urges members to respond to Australian Small Business Ombudsman’s insurance crisis interim report

20th October 2021 - Ombudsman’s insurance crisis report says ‘the show must go on’

25th August 2021 - Fair Work Ombudsman penalises former operators of Big Buoy Waterpark

21st June 2021 - Small Business Ombudsman launches review of AALARA’s Discretionary Mutual Fund proposal

29th December 2020 - Ombudsman’s report calls for action in addressing ‘national crisis’ in insurance coverage

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