Live Performance Australia, the arts and entertainment body, has welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of an events insurance scheme, but has called on the New South Wales Government to take a similar approach. 

Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson announced the AUD$20m (£10.9m/$14.7m/€12.8m) Live Music Restart scheme, with music venues set to receive an $8m injection to recruit and train new staff, invest in COVID-safe infrastructure and help musicians and professionals back into work. 

Music festivals will also receive an $8m boost to help them recover from uncertainty, reschedule and cancelled events due to the pandemic. 

In an Australian-first, there is the event interruption insurance product which will give organisers the confidence to plan future events. The 12-month scheme will be subsidised by the Government and delivered by the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA), with events able to insure up to $230m against cancellation due to public health measures or restrictions. 

Pearson said: “Victoria is Australia’s music heartland and we’re making sure the industry can return stronger than ever and people can enjoy a summer of gigs and festivals. 

“This package will help our music industry get up and running quickly, giving venues the confidence to throw open their doors and get people back to work on stage and behind the scenes.” 

LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson said: “We congratulate the Victorian Government on being the first mover to establish an insurance scheme. Without the ability to insure against cancellation or business interruption, appetite for risk is low given the financial losses incurred since March last year. 

“While we are again reactivating our theatres in NSW and Victoria, in our live music sector, major events have been pushed into late 2022 and early 2023. We have been shut down for 22 months and continued lockdowns and border restrictions have severely dented consumer and industry confidence.” 

The live entertainment industry lost $1.4bn in revenue in 2020 due to the pandemic, with the effects still continuing to be felt in 2021. 

“Live entertainment events drive visitation across regions and cities, pumping billions of dollars of spending into the economy,” said Richardson. 

“Our industry contributed $36.5bn to Australia’s economy in 2019 and is a key driver of many other sectors, notably hospitality, travel and cultural tourism.

“Governments stepping up to provide insurance support in an integrated fashion will provide the confidence to enable us to get our people back to work, our shows back on stage, our touring networks re-established, and our audiences back to live events supporting not just our artists and industry, but all of the associated upstream and downstream businesses which depend upon live events as stimulus.”

Richardson added: “We call on the NSW Government to step up and establish a mirror or similar scheme before the end of the year to provide greater investment confidence.”

Image: Colin Lloyd on Unsplash