Business SA backs event sector call for extra support

Business SA chief executive Martin Haese is calling for extra support for the event sector.

Business SA is calling for special help beyond JobKeeper for the events and international tourism sectors if they are to survive the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

Business SA chief executive Martin Haese told The Advertiser that “there is no light at the end of the tunnel” for businesses in these sectors.

“Event organisers, travel agents, inbound tour operators, event venues, live performance venues, hire businesses primarily linked to events, the arts sector, hospitality and accommodation providers in locations heavily reliant on international tourism such as Adelaide CBD and Kangaroo Island, all remain deeply impacted by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions,’’ he said.

“While the extension of JobKeeper is welcomed, Business SA is urging the State and Federal Government to consider additional financial support measures for those businesses that remain materially impacted by restrictions on gatherings and events as well as international travel restrictions.”

Business SA’s quarterly Survey of Business Expectations shows that 94 per cent of tourism businesses are on JobKeeper on Tuesday, while 88 per cent of tourism businesses said that trade would remain below 70 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels by September.

Big Fish Events Group director Melissa Dunbar told The Advertiser that the events sector is “really quite scared” under the current conditions and could not pivot to other opportunities except to go virtual.

She also played down any use of government tax breaks for an industry that was seeing no revenue coming in.

“It’s more about if a bill is sent and there’s no cash, it’s not getting paid,” she said.

“JobKeeper, and some sort of additional cash grant is one of the only practical things, with certainty, that will keep us here for 2021.”