Event Producers and suppliers work across business events, public events, private events, festivals and entertainment. They can be broadly split into two camps – those who work locally and those who work in multiple locations (including overseas).
Although the majority of the producers and suppliers are based in Sydney and Melbourne there are plenty of local operators around the country along with many who produce national events from a base outside SYD/MEL.
I’m hearing a lot of frustration from people in the industry which boils down to a few basic issues that are clouded by the local v national operations. For those working locally they are being supported at a state level, however there are a large number of conferences, expos and roadshows that operate Australiawide that require a federal approach.
The biggest issues I’m hearing about are:
- A lack of direction for how or when NSW and Victoria will reopen.
- The fear that any event, in any part of Australia, could be shut down with a day or less notice.
- Financial support applying at a state level and not taking into account the impact of decisions taken in other states.
- COVID cancellation insurance.
- A perceived lack of a voice for our industry.
Let’s deal with those issues:
- Last year we saw clear steps for opening up, with matching goals to be achieved to move from one step to the next. This is a state issue and I suspect that the state politicians are now just too scared of putting out a decisive schedule and then getting slammed when (for whatever reason) they cannot deliver.
- Lockdowns are also a state issue and we have seen that the premiers are dammed if they do and dammed it they don’t. But let’s face it, this current outbreak has spread from one contact in Bondi to a large part of Sydney, then to regional NSW and into Victoria and New Zealand. Based on that spread it could also be running rampant in the other states (including WA) by the end of next week. So yes, lockdowns will be with us for a while yet.
- I’ll say it again, JobKeeper worked – it worked because it was state agnostic. If you were based in Melbourne and you had an event in Sydney shut down by Gladys you would be covered if your income for that quarter was significantly below that of the corresponding quarter, etc. The current system does not work because the support is based at a state level.
- There has been a groundswell of support for a COVID event cancellation insurance, however, by the time governments (it needs to be done at a state and federal level) get around to implementing it we may have pushed through. However (again), even with 80% vaccination, who knows what the next variant will bring.
- The voice for our industry has been a difficult one because all the industry associations are national. BECA continues to be a strong voice to the federal government. What we need now is some sort of state body that can pull together not only business events but the public events, festivals, etc. as well.
Incidentally, one of the complaints I’ve heard is about film and TV production continuing (and being funded) when live events are shut down. The answer is in the “live” part of live events. Film and TV production can be tightly controlled. There is no live audience. So why not just be thankful that some of our associates can work.
Although it is far from ideal, there are events still going ahead to an online audience.
This week’s articles have included:
The second half of my interview with Sandy Hollway that I recorded last year
Book review: From a Tasmanian revolution to UNDISRUPTABLE
Have your say via the National Event Industry Survey: The financial impact on events
Gary Fitz-Roy asks A compass to find our way – hope, prayers and fortitude, is it enough?
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The federal finance minister, Simon Birmingham, has acknowledged that targeted lockdowns could still happen once 70% to 80% of adults are vaccinated, and has moved to reassure Australians “we are not about to walk away from them” in terms of providing ongoing hardship assistance.
Birmingham’s more nuanced tone on Wednesday followed recent declarations from the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, that the Morrison government could withdraw economic support if state premiers failed to phase out lockdowns once vaccination rates exceeded 70% of Australians over the age of 16.
Leaders in the federation have been roiling for the best part of a week about whether or not Doherty Institute modelling underpinning Australia’s national plan for reopening was emphatic that lockdowns would end once the vaccination targets were reached.
Scott Morrison has been preparing Australians for a step down in public health restrictions. But the prime minister has been under pressure because of a sustained pushback from some of the states and territories about the risks associated with moving too quickly given major cities are now battling substantial Delta outbreaks.
The Doherty Institute work suggests that lockdowns are less likely to be necessary once vaccination rates increase, but it also says if an outbreak is substantial enough to render testing and contract tracing efforts only “partially effective” then “light or moderate restrictions will probably be insufficient to regain control of epidemics, even at 70% [vaccination] coverage”.
Meanwhile in Queensland
A hundred people can attend a home party or gathering. Dancing is back in nightclubs. More people can go into pubs.
Football stadiums and theatres can have 100% capacity, but people are still encouraged to wear masks.
Meanwhile in UK: Almost 5,000 Covid cases linked to Cornish music and surf festival
Health officials said 4,700 people who have tested positive for coronavirus confirmed they had attended the festival in Newquay or had connections to it. About three-quarters of them are aged 16-21 and about 800 live in the county.
A spokesperson for the festival said it had put in “risk management measures above and beyond national guidelines”.
They said: “These included use of the NHS Covid pass as a condition of entry. The system detected over 450 people who would otherwise have been at risk of passing on the virus and as a result did not attend our Watergate Bay site or left the festival early. No event is able to eliminate risk entirely.”