October 27, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

Public hearings on the Live Performance Insurance Guarantee Bill are currently underway with the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, in the line-up of to address the committee this week.

Councillor Moore, Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully and State Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich have been key players in advocating for an insurance scheme and in helping to amplify the voice of all parts of the events industry.

The Bill was introduced to the Federal Parliament in August by Federal Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, the Greens spokesperson for the arts, media and communications, in response to the challenges facing businesses and workers in the live music and entertainment industry.

The Bill places an obligation on the Treasurer to make a legislative instrument for the establishment, governance and operation of the fund.

The purpose of the fund is to underwrite insurance for COVID-19 cancellations for the live performance industry to deal with a market failure within the insurance industry.

The explanatory notes supporting the Bill say: “Due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic including border closures, lockdowns, social distancing requirements and reduced crowd capacities, it is impossible to get insurance for an event that may need to be cancelled due to COVID-19.

“The arts and entertainment industry is worth $112 billion to the Australian economy and employs hundreds of thousands of workers. This industry has been decimated by the impacts of the pandemic and will be unable to get back on their feet until live events are possible again. An insurance guarantee is an important step in providing the industry with the certainty they need to plan live events.

Other key Members of Parliament are adding their weight to the campaign to get insurance underwriting for events that may be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The latest to come out to support the industry is Federal Independent Zali Steggall.

As reported in micenet, Eventify owner Stu Katzen sought the support of Steggall for agencies and event organisers who had been deeply impacted by COVID-19 event cancellations and restrictions. Steggall has now made representations for targeted support on behalf of the event agencies, many of which are located in her electorate.

At the Senate hearing into the Live Performance Guarantee Bill 2021 on October 14, representatives of the live performance industry backed the call for a Federal Government-led insurance scheme for the industry.

Senator Hanson-Young said there was a market failure when it came to insuring live events against COVID-19 outbreaks and border closures.

“There just isn’t a product out there in the insurance market to cover these events. When there is a market failure, it is the role of government to step in.”

A Live Performance Guarantee Fund underwritten by Government was the only way to bring confidence back to the industry to start planning live events again she said.

A group representing various parts of the events industry had secured the support of Hanson-Young to bring the insurance need to Parliament in the form of a Bill.

“The ask of the live music and entertainment industry is clear and simple: help those sole traders and businesses impacted in our industry survive this lag period with a sustainability package,” said Dean Ormston, CEO of music rights organisation APRA AMCOS.

“Give the industry the confidence to plan deliver world’s best tours and events with a government backed insurance scheme.”

Evelyn Richardson of Live Performance Australia is also actively advocating for the scheme. She said the inability to insure is a major market failure where there is a role for governments to intervene.

The public hearings currently in progress form part of the process of getting action on the area of market failure.