For those VMA members not on the Live Entertainment Industry Forum newsletter list please see the latest update from LEIF Chair James Sutherland. The VMA continues to play our role in supporting this industry wide initiative to raise awareness of our industry’s flight with key decision makers in Government.
It has been two months since we launched the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), bringing together Australia’s leading venues, promoters and experts to face the major challenges our society and industry faces.
This is the first newsletter in my capacity as Convenor of LEIF. We represent 175,000 employees, Australia’s biggest and best entertainment and sporting venues, concert promoters large and small – and together we contribute more than $150 billion each year to the Australian economy each and every year. We proudly represent everyone from the superstars who use our stages or fields, to the students supporting their studies by selling pies and hot dogs at the footy.
In a matter of weeks, we have made significant progress right across our broad industry. Crowds are back safely and securely at different venues and events around Australia. We have also been quickly recognised by government, the media and other stakeholders as the peak authority in our industry.
We have delivered key briefings to government bodies, influenced policy makers and politicians with our unified voice. We’ve secured a seat at the table and we have an important role to play in helping Australians get through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have, of course, been setbacks and the recent dramatic rise in my home of Melbourne is the strongest reminder of the risks and threats this virus poses to all of us. It also illustrates how quickly things can change and how flexible our industry must be to plan ahead with confidence.
We have called together industry experts to formulate and implement strict COVIDSafe planning protocols to give authorities, and the general public, confidence that we are doing all we can to protect our community from COVID-19.
Thank you for your support and interest as we carefully manage the return of live sport and entertainment in our new normal. It’s been a busy, eye-opening few months and my first substantial update follows below.
We have developed world-leading industry-wide guidelines for re-opening live events in a COVID-safe manner. We have called on 50 industry experts across 10 separate working groups to stress test best practice principles to support the return of fans to live events.
This huge undertaking has covered detail on everything from cleaning and sanitisation to crowd management – and includes guidance physical distancing, health monitoring, contact tracing and integration with public transport systems.
We’ve made significant headway with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) with a view to the AHPPC endorsing our work for the safe return to live entertainment and sport. We hope this will be forthcoming by mid-August and we intend to share this document with industry stakeholders. Our key priorities remain:
- Developing, refining and implementing COVIDSafe industry guidelines for venues and events;
- Building a sustainable and deliverable roadmap to fully reopen the live entertainment sector; and
- Protecting jobs in the live entertainment and events industry.
The challenges for employers are enormous and many jobs are at risk. Until venues can welcome more fans to large live events, the industry and its employees will remain vulnerable.
The extension of the Federal Government’s Jobkeeper scheme until March 2021 – albeit at reducing rates – has given us a vital lifeline. Many jobs are likely to be saved for now, but employers still face difficult decisions as the period of little or no revenue bites deeper. The recent announcements give businesses some clarity on the support currently available and perhaps some extra breathing space to sustain employment numbers.
As we all know, the live events industry feeds, and makes a huge indirect contribution to many other sectors such as, tourism, hospitality, technology, customer service and agriculture.
We are confident that the Federal, State and Territory governments understand the significant contribution our industry makes to the local, state and national economies. We will continue to emphasise this with governments, as well as reiterating how great a role our events, venues and staff have in the broader economic recovery from the pandemic.
HOW CAN YOU CONTINUE TO HELP
Your support and interest are greatly appreciated, especially as you face challenges of your own in these times.
One of the most important ways to help is to play your part in building consumer confidence. Our health and safety industry experts have developed world-class principles to ensure our venues and events are as safe as possible. We all should be very proud of these principles. They have been developed in partnership with government and health authorities and are fine-tuned depending on the event.
Ultimately, our principles and our commitment to the world-leading health and hygiene practices will define how quickly we can get government agreement to host larger crowds, and then attract people through the turnstiles. I have complete confidence we have the knowledge, expertise and above all the commitment to do exactly what we say we will: protect the health of our customers.
There are also industry-specific initiatives in the works that will strengthen our partnership with government, mitigate risk and create greater certainty for all involved.
We are, of course, here to represent you, so if there’s another way that you think we can help please let us know.
Do the right thing and stay COVIDSafe.
Convenor – Live Entertainment Industry Forum