August 12, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

The Shadow Minister for the Arts and Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives has picked up the need for events industry insurance.

This week, Tony Burke MP, whose Federal electorate is in the midst of one of Sydney’s COVID hotspots, made a speech in Parliament calling on the Government to back the industry.

He said the events industry had been “smashed”.

“The policy answers to all this are actually pretty simple. It’s about insurance and a wage subsidy that actually works,”

He said the events sector was commercial, but it now had a form of risk against which it could not insure and which it could not predict – a COVID shutdown that can happen right up to the moment of the event itself, he said.

ALP MP Tony Burke | Photo source: Tony Burke’s personal website

“And commercial enterprises around the country – now whether they are major expos, major events, major festivals, whether they are big shows and major productions – or even if it’s a smaller operation of someone wanting to organise a tour. How can you have the confidence to take that risk, even if you can run down the capital, if there is an event you know you cannot insure against and can terminate all your plans at a moment’s notice.”

He says the smartest thing to do is what the Government has done with the film industry – set up a business interruption fund. For the businesses that don’t have to shut down, they never draw on the fund.

He says it gives businesses the confidence to know that the form of risk that is most dangerous is now covered.

A video of Tony Burke’s MP’s speech in the Parliament has been circulated by Michael Cassel Group, the company which stages major theatrical productions and live entertainment. The company opened the musical Hamilton at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre in March but performances have been called off for almost seven weeks now due to Sydney’s lockdown.

micenet understands that Live Performance Australia is playing a leading role in championing the need for this type of insurance.

The emergence of Burke as an advocate for COVID-19 insurance and a wage subsidy is part of a growing campaign for events sector support.

Yesterday, micenet published an interview with Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Jess Scully who has also stepped up to champion the needs of the whole events industry.