September 23, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

Save Victorian Events founder Simon Thewlis says the Victorian Government is actively consulting the industry on the insurance model for events cancelled due to COVID-19.

Getting appropriate insurance support from Governments is one of the key issues on the table with state and federal governments across the country.

Thewlis said the industry talks regarding the insurance needs of the Victorian events sector were being discussed with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, the super agency that includes the Tourism, Events and Visitor Economy (TEVE) branch. The TEVE branch is responsible for strengthening the profile of tourism and events across government and influencing reforms and economic outcomes for the sector.

Thewlis said that the insurance requirements of business events were different to those of the ticketed entertainment industry, so it was important to get the detail right.

He said due to the campaigning and research of Save Victorian Events there was now more awareness of the events industry.

Significant mainstream media coverage and active engagement of Members of Parliament following the recent release of its COVID-19 impacts survey have helped get more cut-through.

Thewlis said the research was critically important and provided good data with which to engage parliamentarians and government agencies.

He told micenet that Save Victorian Events was continuing to make representations on behalf of the industry.

This week it was briefing federal Treasury officials about the research released recently. Last week, the tourism advisor of Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan was also briefed.

Thewlis said that over recent weeks “a fair bit had happened” and there was more awareness that the events industry “was in strife”.

The roadmap to reopening announced by the Victorian Government last week shows a growing recognition of the importance of events – both face-to-face and virtual, he said.

Thewlis confirmed an important change to Victoria’s current lockdown restrictions.

“Five people are allowed at an event venue – including a business/conference venue or facility or a virtual event studio – to broadcast an event. It can be a business event or a music or entertainment event or the like”.

He said another potentially positive development for the industry was that the Liberal party leadership change in Victoria had resulted in the new deputy leader of the party, David Southwick, being appointed Shadow Minister for the Events Industry.

“Southwick was involved in the events industry before going into Parliament, so knows our industry well.  He has been a great supporter of the events industry through this crisis.

“In Victoria we have a Minister for Tourism and Major Events – so the focus has always been on major events and using events to help tourism.  The Opposition has decided to have a Shadow Minister for the Events Industry to highlight the importance of the whole events industry, and that events play a really important role in Victoria that goes far beyond tourism,” Thewlis said.

In relation to the reopening roadmap, Thewlis said, “While we’d prefer more people to be allowed, this is a start which will help more virtual events to happen until the next stage of opening up. We will certainly be continuing to work to try to get the numbers increased.

“This also marks a growing understanding within government of the important role that events – including virtual events – play in helping organisations to really engage with their teams, their stakeholders and their communities. And that this is critically important in challenging times.

“We appreciate the very active support of a number of people in the Victorian government to get this across the line,” Thewlis said.

Save Victorian Events says it has the key group representing the broader event industry throughout the crisis with 2,350 people from 930 business participating in the campaign.