October 8, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Grassroots lobbying group Save Victorian Events has released its vision for the state’s industry as it looks to get some traction for recovery as the state makes strides towards the 70 and 80 percent full vaccination targets that will begin the easing of Melbourne’s current lockdown and bring about a tentative restart to events.

Save Victorian Events believes events can contribute significantly to Victoria’s recovery, both by bringing communities and organisations back together and through the economic impact of the industry which ran at approximately $12 billion a year prior to the pandemic.

According to their strategy, called A Vision For An Event Led Recovery For Victoria, it is about “using a lot of more modest events to help rebuild Victoria community by community, organisation by organisation, region by region, sector by sector”.

The strategy was sent to all Victorian members of Parliament and Victorian mayors across the state.

One of the Save Victorian Events co-founders Simon Thewlis said the strategy had received positive feedback from both parliamentarians and mayors.

Thewlis said there was currently a recovery strategy vacuum in Victoria across the board and the aim of their strategy was to get people thinking about what Victoria’s recovery strategy could look like and to generate an understanding of the role events can play within it.

The strategy advocates starting small and simple to build confidence across community events, public events and business events and to focus on getting existing major events ready to operate in a COVID environment.

It calls for a roadmap showing what will be permitted for different kinds of events so that organisers can begin the planning process, and for practical guidelines to be issues to assist with the planning process.

The strategy also calls for the state’s health authorities to work with the industry to properly understand different types of events and how they can be safely held.

The strategy suggests a marketing campaign to promote events as part of the recovery strategy, the implementation of a Government backed insurance scheme for COVID-related event cancellations, the continuation of existing financial support for businesses and workers and for targeted support for the events industry. Save Victorian Events suggests some of the money in the state budget which is allocated to future event growth could be used to sustain the industry now.

The Save Victorian Events strategy also suggests a range of event funds, worth $100 million, across regional and metropolitan community events and for public and business events, to finance the return of events in the immediate future. The strategy also suggests a $50 million fund to support event industry business survival until events return and to help businesses gear up for when that return translates into being able to get back to work.