Call for inquiry into the effect lockdowns have on events sector

Victoria’s Opposition’s leader in the upper house David Davis is pushing for an inquiry into the effects of the pandemic on the events and tourism industry following the state’s third lockdown.

“This is a desperate step to try and save the tourism and events industry in our state,” he said.

“It’s a short sharp inquiry to put the spotlight on Labor’s mismanagement and the failure to support businesses, in light of their harsh lockdowns.”

Davis said the inquiry would require the Economy and Infrastructure Committee holding public hearings in Melbourne and regional Victoria to outline the major issues into the tourism sector, which make up 7.8 per cent of the state’s workforce.

They inquiry would report its findings back by June 30 to the State Government to provide support measures.

Lobby group Save Victorian Events has welcomed the move.

“The inquiry can finally shine a light on the truly appalling way Victoria’s once iconic Event Industry has been treated throughout this pandemic,” the group posted on Facebook.

“And, we hope, will cause the Victorian Government to final act, and act quickly, to put in place the urgently needed support so that we do not lose an entire generation of people and businesses from our event industry at the end of March.

“While we know that it will take time we don’t have, we know that the announcement of the inquiry will put a lot of pressure on the Victorian government to act quickly.”

The pandemic has wiped around $2.5 billion per month from Victoria’s visitor economy. But we know what has caused the damage – snap border closures and lockdowns made by state and territory leaders basking in the glow of sky-high approval ratings while simultaneously being underpinned by a Federal Government support package in the shape of JobKeeper.

While the call for an inquiry may simply be just a tactical move to ramp up pressure on the Andrews Government to think long and hard about how it approaches lockdowns post JobKeeper, a more open conversation around a national approach to managing minor Covid outbreaks needs to happen before March 28.