Federal Opposition backs call for Covid insurance scheme for events

Tony Burke, Shadow Minister for the Arts, supports the call for a federal insurance scheme.

The Federal Opposition has listened to business events sector’s call for further support agreeing that a national insurance scheme to cover Covid related losses from cancelation or postponement is necessary.

Representatives of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) met online with Senator Don Farrell, Shadow Minister for Sport and Tourism, and Tony Burke, Shadow Minister for the Arts, to discuss the key areas the industry needs support in.

“Given the significant lead time required for the national restart of the business events industry, many parts of our critical supply chain will be faced with the challenge of surviving without functional revenue, noting that any deposits received for future activity must be securely held until services are delivered,” said BECA Deputy Chair Geoff Donaghy (ICC Sydney).

“These businesses will continue to run at a loss for another six months or more.”

BECA has also formally submitted a response to the Live Performance Federal Insurance Guarantee Fund Bill 2021 before the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee – backing in its position that the lack of COVID-19 pandemic related event insurance is a handbrake on confidence and will slow the recovery of the business events industry in 2022.

“BECA identified risk mitigation as a key challenge for governments to resolve more than twelve months ago and we continue to see this as a priority for recovery,” said Donaghy.

“A national Commonwealth Government led event insurance scheme, achieved in partnership with state and territory governments, remains our preferred model.”

Burke said the Opposition had been lobbying the government for more than a year to introduce an insurance scheme.

“It’s time for the federal government to listen and act,” he said.

“The live music and events industry needs an interruption insurance scheme to get back on its feet and plan for its future.

“The federal government has been willing to provide such a scheme for the screen sector but not for the arts or live events industry, and they’ve given no reason why.”

Farrell said he looked forward to continuing to work with BECA “to ensure this once thriving industry recovers as soon as possible”.

“There can be no doubt that the business events sector has suffered significantly as a result of the pandemic,” he said.

“In addition, like many other industries, it’s clear that the business events sector can’t just snap back as soon as borders open.”