Once again the federal government has delivered a smackdown to workers in the events sector.
Over the last three months many event businesses have managed to keep staff on with assistance from the state governments in NSW, ACT and Victoria. Meanwhile casual workers have been able to draw on the federal income support payments that replaced JobKeeper.
Today the feds have announced that are turning off that emergency financial support a fortnight after the jurisdiction reaches an 80% double vaccination rate.
However, events will not recommence two weeks after these lockdowns end. Most events will not recommence in NSW until after 1st December (when the density limit is increased to 1 person per 2 sqm), six weeks after the expected 80% target is reached.
Feedback I have received from venues and event managers is that there will be very little activity until early next year. Events, whether they are a conference, an expo, a festival or a wedding take from weeks to many months to prepare and the casuals don’t come on board until the weeks leading up to the opening of the event.
Those casuals include technicians, set builders, electricians, riggers, stage managers, ushers, security, cleaners, chefs, waitstaff, barstaff, drivers, etc.
The only bright note is for those who work on the big musicals that are coming back next month. But that is only because the sets have been sitting in the theatres ready to light up again after three to four months of being dark.
So for the other casuals there may be some work available as wait and bar staff in restaurants and pubs that can switch the open light on fairly quickly. But that is about it. Many have already moved into other areas of work (or even moved overseas).
So next time a federal politician asks to use your premises to make an announcement – remind them about how they have abandoned our sector.
Meanwhile for out of work casuals – it’s back to Centerlink.