Live Performance Australia (LPA) has updated its ticketing code of practice to include guidance on consumers’ rights when events are affected by uncontrollable circumstances such as COVID-19.

The new code, which will come into force from January 2021, outlines expectations for industry best practice and aims to ensure that consumers are treated fairly.

LPA, which is the leading body for Australia’s live performance industry, has consulted with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on revisions to the code.

LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson noted that while the disruption to live performance events caused by COVID-19 was the impetus for the code update, it is also designed to address future circumstances beyond the current pandemic.

She said: “We never previously had to envisage a situation where our entire industry was shut down across the country and globally for months on end, due to circumstances beyond our control, such as the public health response to the global pandemic.

“As we transition to living and working in a COVID-normal world, we obviously need to anticipate the possibility of more disruptions in the future, although they are more likely in the form of targeted and localised restrictions to contain any coronavirus outbreaks.”

The update includes a new section dealing with cancelled, rescheduled or significantly relocated events due to ‘intervening circumstances’.

The code sets out expectations regarding conduct and representations, communications to consumers, indicative timeframes for announcing new dates for postponed events, possible remedies, and timeframes for offering refunds.

“Our industry has faced incredible challenges this year in responding to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Richardson continued. “Venues were forced to close overnight, and performances had to be cancelled or rescheduled despite ongoing uncertainty about the duration and severity of public health restrictions in different jurisdictions.

“Our members have worked diligently on the rescheduling of events or processing of refunds amidst great uncertainty about when they can resume live performance events.

“We thank our audiences for their patience during this period, and also acknowledge the many ticket holders who have donated their ticket refunds to live performance companies in a gesture of support during this very difficult time for our performers, production crews and venues.”

The eighth edition of the industry code in Australia can be found here.

Earlier this year, LPA released a comprehensive set of COVID Safe guidelines to help the live performance industry prepare to reopen its venues and resume productions.

Australia is set to host its first arena shows since March this month as TEG and Live Nation have teamed up to co-promote two shows with more 12,000 fans.

Meanwhile, the newly formed South Australian Event Advisory Group will meet for the first time this week to help bolster the sector as the region reintroduces a number of “significant restrictions” in response to a coronavirus cluster.

The new advisory group includes representatives from the events, tourism, hospitality and business sectors, who will be working on building up the events and festivals calendar and driving visitation to South Australia.