The Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Support for the Tourism and Events Sectors has begun with Simon Thewlis, from Save Victorian Events, appearing alongside ShowTech’s Tiny Good and CrewCare’s Howard Freeman as the first witnesses.
With Victoria’s event industry in crisis, particularly following the end of JobKeeper, many event businesses will struggle to get through the winter, says Thewlis.
Among the key pillars outlined by Save Victorian Events to rescue the state’s events sector are a new dedicated government agency to support, develop and promote Victoria’s event industry, further financial support for event companies and a Federal Government program to underwrite Covid cancel insurance.
“While there is much emphasis on the small number of really big events, its actually the hundred plus thousand other events that make the greatest contribution to life in Victoria and contribute most in terms of employment and economic activity,” Thewlis said at the inquiry.
“At government level, we do seem to have been kidnapped by the tourism folk and vested interests. These three sectors – arts, tourism and sport – have received over $2 billion in state government support, while the event industry remains empty handed and struggling.”
Thewlis went on to warn that unless action is taken by the government “we will lose a lot of Victoria’s event capability” and Melbourne’s reputation as “global event city”.
“Victoria’s event industry is a vast number of people and businesses who have worked their whole lives and put everything into creating great events,” he said.
“People who have made an extraordinary contribution to Victoria. They deserve much better than this.”