The recent announcement of the $250 million support package for the arts community is wonderful news, but has again highlighted that the events industry still isn’t being heard and given some direction or support.
It’s encouraging to know that some states have announced a roadmap to easing restrictions around events, but it’s a shame that this does not apply nationally, as, without a definitive reopening date, we are unable to plan for the future.
For example, Western Australia announced a step plan for reopening, but if interstate clients are unable to enter due to closed borders, how many shows and of what size will go ahead if you cannot draw on the whole country?
The Premier of Victoria has been good at throwing a number of states under the bus, but his inactions could now devastate the comeback of an entire industry.
We shouldn’t be penalised by one state and it’s clear that the Prime Minister and a number of Premiers recognise the importance of reopening and getting going again.
I urge those states who have not yet announced an opening date to treat this as a priority. As an industry, we are responsible for working together to abide by the requirements around social distancing and hygiene, so please help us so that we can help the economy and communities we serve. Give us a date!
I wanted to share a letter that I recently sent to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison:
“Scott, you are more than aware from your connection in roles at the Tourism Council of Australia and then Tourism Australia, that the exhibitions and events industry was closed before the arts community in most cases because our industry’s events were affected by the first lock down of 500 plus people.
Now, we are just asking to, at least, have a date to get the industry restarted. Until last Friday, things were looking more positive. The sad thing is due to the rise in cases in Victoria, a whole industry has gone from showing glimmers of hope to potentially broke!
The Government has announced additional support for the Arts but I call on you to include the Exhibition, Conference and Events industry in this support who are being decimated at the moment.
I made the point of billion dollar white elephant venues and this still exists, however, the mental wellbeing, not just the commercial existence, of thousands of companies and people is at stake.
If, at very least, the JobKeeper allowance and tax breaks can be extended until February 2021. This will provide a beacon of hope for our industry to do our best to hang in.