In today’s announcement of business support Victoria’s decimated Event Industry missed out yet again.
We saw another $24.9 million go to licensed venues – on top of the $165 million they have already received.
We saw another $26 million go to tourism – on top of the $485 million they have already received.
Yet the $10+ billion Event Industry has still not received any targeted support from the Victorian government – despite the fact that many event people and businesses have been unable to work on an event since March 13 2020.
Bruce Atkinson MLC said in parliament on Thursday last week (from Hansard):
“I want to focus in the few minutes that I have on the events industry—a very significant industry in Victoria and an industry that in fact is a platform for most of the rest of the Victorian economy, right through to education, with the people that are trained in different areas, right through to export dollars, where we have had people managing events in this state who have then gone on to assist with events around the world because of their expertise and their intellectual property.
“We are very quick to boast about our events. We are very quick to be captured in photographs at our events. We are very quick to understand the value of those as a multiplier effect into the economy when it suits us for bragging rights, and yet now, when it comes to this situation, we have absolutely no thought about how we go forward, about the recommendations, about the exit plan from coronavirus.
“We all understand the coronavirus is likely to have a continuing impact on our economy going forward and on some of our behaviours, but we have to find a way through it to support this industry in particular, which next to the airline industry in my view has been the hardest hit industry of all. It is crucial to Victoria. It is part of Victoria’s signature in a global community. We are an events capital. It is a crucial industry in terms of its multiplier effect right through our economy, and it involves so many people with so much expertise—brilliant, innovative people who at the moment feel very let down by government, abandoned by government in terms of not having received any support for many of the people employed in this industry, and indeed not knowing where to go in the future.”
The impact of last week’s lockdown on the Event Industry was severe and long lasting. The snap survey we ran during the lockdown showed this in brutal detail.
One catering firm reported direct loses of $1.2 million from the lockdown. They are ineligible to receive the $2,000 Circuit Breaker Support Package.
Many people were reporting events booked as far ahead as September being cancelled directly due to the loss of remaining confidence in holding events in Victoria. One event was a long planned conference for 700 people in September.
The impact of the complete loss of confidence from the sudden lockdown will be felt by a lot of people and businesses in the event industry for many months to come.
Victoria has always been a great exporter of events and event services. A lot of people and companies lost huge amounts of work from not being able to get to their events in other states. And, from interstate clients no longer being willing to use them for lack of certainty that they will be able to get to events in other state.
Most event industry businesses reported losses in excess of $20,000 and many losses in excess of $100,000.
A small proportion of event businesses may be able to access the $2,000 Circuit Breaker Support Package. But it raises the question of why provide some support for events from one five day period and not for the 100,000+ events that would normally have happened in the last eleven months in Victoria.
From April to December 2020 event industry companies have averaged only 15% of their normal earned income (i.e. down 85% on normal).
We know that if JobKeeper isn’t extended beyond March – or replaced by some other state or federal financial support – that 43% of Victorian event industry companies will need to let staff go and that a further 40% of businesses will potentially need to close. 83% of Victoria’s face huge difficulties.
Victoria’s Event Industry faces a catastrophe.
Victoria’s Event Industry urgently needs real financial support.
Save Victorian Events was started in July 2020 as a campaign to give a real voice to the businesses and people who are actually working in Victoria’s Event Industry. More than two thousand members of the event industry have actively participated in our campaign to date. We welcome the Victorian Legislative Council’s parliamentary inquiry into support for the tourism and events sectors.