The Covid pandemic has had a profound impact on everyone in Victoria over the last 18 months. It has taken a huge toll on people, organisations and communities.
Communities are disconnected. Organisations are struggling with the biggest changes they have ever faced while also having their teams and stakeholders apart. Everyone is struggling to see the future and how we can get there. We have lost confidence as a state.
We need to bring people back together again. We need to share a vision for our future. We need to give people reason for hope. We need to start rebuilding confidence, optimism and energy. We need to show people that the recovery has started. That real action is happening. That we do have a future together.
We need to inspire, motivate and lead.
This is what events are great at doing. This is what our Event Industry does very well.
A vision for an event led recovery for Victoria
Today Save Victorian Events launches a Vision for an Event Led Recovery for Victoria. A strategy of using events to bring people back together to help drive Victoria’s recovery and return to prosperity.
This is not about a few big flashy events. There is a time and place for them.
This is about using a lot of more modest events to help rebuild Victoria community by community, organisation by organisation, region by region, sector by sector.
It is about kick starting activity – so getting many events happening before the end of the year and a lot happening over summer and through until April.
If done right, this will generate the needed momentum to get Victoria’s recovery well underway.
The strategy is:
Encouraging and empowering people and organisations to hold events in local communities to bring people back together again, to reconnect the communities, to get people working together again. These can be a simple as a half day seminar for local community leaders to help inspire them and support them in their local groups; through to public gatherings in parks, streets, community facilities or event venues.
Events don’t have to be large or complex to be really effective. The benefits of events come from people being together.
Providing support and encouragement to get events happening at a regional or state level. This can be public events, performances and festivals of all kinds. Events that bring people together from right across the community. Some of these events will be free to the public and some will be paid events.
These higher profile events will help to generate confidence right across the community and the economy. They can also involve and support talent from right across the event industry, music the arts, food & wine, technology, innovation, education, etc….
Again, this is about removing barriers and giving financial and practical support to get events happening.
Providing the confidence, encouragement and some financial support to organisations – commercial, for purpose, associations, and government – to start holding events again this year and through to April.
Events to help them to re-engage with their teams and stakeholders, to share their plans for the year ahead, to reward the efforts of the last 18 months, to inspire and motivate people for another challenging year ahead, and importantly to help create the change and innovation needed to adapt to this new world.
Again, these don’t been to be very large and complex events. Many might be a half day conference that finishes with a meal together. Or bringing school principals together for a day to share their experiences and learnings, and to inspire and motivate each other as they go back to their own schools and communities.
This starts with a marketing campaign to let organisations know that it is positive to be holding events and that it is an important part of recovery. And then providing some financial and practical support to get events happening.
Victoria is lucky to already have a brilliant calendar of major events. The emphasis with major events needs to be getting the existing ones successfully to happen again. And, most importantly, to put the time and effort into helping to change and develop these events so they are more suited to this new environment, and provide greater and more relevant overall benefits to the community.
The priority and effort shouldn’t be towards securing new events that will still be many years again. The needs of today are far more important.
What’s needed to make this happen
A Vision and a Commitment
The Victorian government committing to having, and leading, an event led recovery for Victoria. And committing the necessary resources to make this happen quickly.
A Roadmap and Guidelines for Events
A real roadmap showing what will be allowed for different types of events and when – so that people can start to plan events today for remainder 2021 and into 2022. And practical guidelines outlining what will be allowed at events.
It is imperative that Health starts to work with the Event Industry to properly understand the different types of events and the ways they can be safely held – so that the roadmap and guidelines can be viable and based on reality.
The government to work with the Event Industry to create a practical set of guidelines, pro forma event plans for the main types of events, and checklists – as well as supporting resources such as a dedicated telephone help line, training courses, and safety items – to make it much easier for less experienced people and organisations to successfully hold events in a COVID safe way.
Marketing and Communications
A dedicated marketing and communications campaign to promote the benefits and use of events as part of Victoria’s recovery. Just as the government has done for tourism and other industries.
Covid Cancel Event Insurance
Government backed Covid cancel event insurance so that event organisers can get insurance coverage to cover potential losses if their event needs to be cancelled or postponed due to Covid related issues. We understand this is currently being worked on by government – but it needs to be in place as a matter of urgency.
Continuation of Existing Financial Support for Businesses and Workers
A continuation of the existing Business CAP financial support for event industry businesses until events are properly happening. A continuation of the federal Disaster Payments for event industry workers until events are properly happening again, or a state based scheme for supporting workers.
This is essential for many event industry businesses to just be able to survive and for workers to remain in the event industry.
Targeted Financial Support
There is already money in the budget – the additional $152 million allocated to the Major Event Fund for potential future ‘major events’ and the $20 million for the Regional Event Fund – that could be reallocated to fund this program. This would mean bringing forward some of the funds allocated to future years. Using this money today, will have very significant long term benefits for Victoria.
Community Event Fund – Regional
$10 million in grants to regional councils for them to use to quickly provide financial support to organisations and businesses to help them to hold events in their LGA over the next six months that will help to support and rebuild their community.
Community Event Fund – Metro
$20 million in grants to metropolitan councils for them to use to quickly provide financial support to organisations and businesses to help them to hold events over the next six months in their LGA that will help to support and rebuild their community.
NB: Councils would be encouraged to match the government’s funding, but not be required to as councils will have different levels of ability to do this.
Public Event Fund
A $30 million fund to provide grants to organisations – for profit, for purpose, associations or government – to hold events and festivals over the next six months that are open to the public (paid or unpaid) that will bring the broader community together and rebuild confidence in the broader community and in Victoria’s economy.
These events and festivals can have a broad focus – including on food and wine, entertainment, music, arts, etc – as these are all great for bringing people together again in a positive way.
Business Event Fund
A $40 million fund to provide grants to organisations – for profit, for purpose, associations and government – to help encourage them to hold events and conferences over the next six months that will help them to re-engage with their teams, to change and innovate, and contribute to rebuilding the confidence of our community and getting our economy running again.
Event Industry Business Support Fund
A $50 million fund to provide financial support to event industry businesses to help them to survive but just as importantly so they can gear back up again to be ready to support many events.
An event led recovery requires a capable event industry. Many event industry businesses have had an incredibly tough 18 months and are struggling to just survive. So it is essential that funding is provided so that event industry businesses can survive and can start to re-employ staff and to train new staff so they can be ready for events to happen again.
An Investment in Victoria’s Overall Recovery
While it would be easy to justify this program as support for one of Victoria’s most iconic industries – the Event Industry which has a direct spend of $12+ billion a year – this program is for the benefit of the whole of Victoria.
This is actually a relatively modest investment in Victoria’s overall recovery.
Done right, this strategy would play a significant role in restoring hope and optimism right across our community, rebuild confidence in our economy, restore the reputation of our state, and help drive Victoria’s future success.
Time and Expertise
Time is of the essence. There is an urgent need to make this happen. If a lot doesn’t happen very quickly there will be very few events happening in Victoria until well into 2022 – meaning that Victoria’s recovery won’t really start until well into 2022.
Getting a program like this up and running quickly requires expertise and resources – at both the strategic and operational level – that the government doesn’t currently have. So the Victorian government needs to work in close partnership with the Event Industry to make this happen.
Victoria has long been – and proudly been – Australia’s leading event state, and Melbourne a global event capital. So it should be a no brainer for Victoria to be leading again and having an event led recovery.
The Current Situation in Victoria’s Event Industry
Sadly, there is currently no plan for Victoria’s event industry or for events in Victoria. We are not even included in the reopening roadmap. No one currently knows when events with more than 150 people indoors will be allowed, or even when we might find out.
The situation in our Event Industry is desperate. Without a major change of approach, there will be relatively few events in Victoria until well into 2022 – which will have a dire impact of the Event Industry, but also on Victoria as a whole.
What is needed is a vision, a plan, and swift action for an Event Led Recovery for Victoria.
Victoria’s Event Industry is battered and struggling, but we will never give up as we believe in the power of events to bring people together and to create real change. What we do has never be more needed than today.
Victoria’s Event Industry can help drive Victoria’s recovery and return to prosperity. But we need to start today.