VMA joins calls for continuing government support for our industry

Feb 23, 2021Member News

The Venue Management Association (VMA), as a member of the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), joined with the leaders and key representatives of the venue management and live entertainment industry calling for government to extend support beyond the current March 31 cut-off of JobKeeper for those most affected in our industry.

Our industry was among the first to be shut down in Australia under COVID-19 restrictions in early March 2019 and remains largely at a standstill and unable to generate substantial income.

Ernst & Young (EY) were engaged by LEIF on behalf of its members to estimate the economic contribution of Australia’s live entertainment industry. The report was published in December 2020 and estimated that of the 122,000 full-time-equivalent jobs that were supported by the live entertainment and sport industries pre COVID-19, an estimated 79,000 (65%) were lost in 2020.

The Economic Contribution of Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry — How Has COVID-19 Impacted the Industry Report also suggests that:

  • up to 86% of jobs supported by live music and shows have already gone,
  • for most commercial operators, revenue remains well below 1/3rd of 2019 levels, and
  • for those operating primarily in the international concert market, income is less than 10% of 2019 levels.

It is widely acknowledged that Jobkeeper and the targeted Creative Economy package has been a key lifeline for our industry over the past year, but without continuing government assistance, many operators and suppliers are likely to remain solvent.

In writing to the Federal Treasurer and Minister for the Arts on 9 February 2021, the VMA under the auspices of LEIF, with the powerful collective of 24 key industry stakeholders, highlighted the industry’s significant contribution to Australia’s economy, employment and social wellbeing.  Commissioned patron surveys indicate that that once better conditions return, live entertainment as we knew it pre-COVID, will return in force, as will fans and jobs.

The stakeholders stressed to the Treasurer and Minster for the Arts that a return to business normality for our industry remains a long way off and to operate profitably we require (1) venues operating at full capacity, (2) unrestricted interstate movement, and (3) open international borders without extensive quarantine.

The general industry consensus is that these three necessary conditions are unlikely to occur in the next six to nine months. While this outlook remains bleak, and businesses in our industry are under unprecedented financial pressure, continued Federal Government assistance for our industry is required to avoid more business closures and further job losses.

Leighton Wood, VMA President, noted “On our Member’s behalf, the VMA will continue to advocate for measures to assist in our industry’s survival, recovery and renewal and keep members apprised of developments. Continuing support of our industry is critical to its recovery”.

The letter was also co-signed by: TEG, Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Ticketek, Venues NSW, Venues Live, ASM Global, Adelaide Oval, MOPT, MCG, Stadiums QLD, Marvel Stadium, Chugg Entertainment, ARIA, Michael Cassel Group, Mushroom Group, Frontier, Secret Sounds, ALMBA, LPA, AFA and APRA AMCOS.

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