Today’s Parliamentary Inquiry into the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Tourism and Events Sectors highlights the Andrews Labor Government’s lack of support for Victoria’s vital events sector during this time.
Witnesses fought back tears as they described the harrowing circumstances of little or no work over 12 months, and mass job losses while still having bills to pay. Their confidence has hit an all-time low by the continuous uncertainty created by the Andrews Labor Government’s snap lockdowns and botched handling of COVID-19.
Victoria’s events sector has been gutted. Now, the Andrews Labor Government must lift its game to genuinely listen to it and provide real support.
The Liberal Nationals consider that the creation of a new, more focussed ‘Events Victoria’ from within the existing ranks and staffing of Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions would help to foster more and improved support for this vital sector.
Victoria has one of the most onerous approval processes, forcing event operators to jump through many hoops, adding even more stress at an already difficult time. This process needs to be streamlined more in line with operating models in New South Wales and Queensland.
In addition, the cost of storage of equipment vital to the sector adds an additional burden to already struggling businesses. The government must look to providing support for these costs to preserve and protect the industry over the next six months to ensure long-term survival.
The more than $10 billion annual Victorian events sector is a major sector in its own right. The loss of events is a huge hit on Victoria’s economy and needs to be rectified.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Sport, Cindy McLeish:
“Event operators don’t know what’s going to happen in a week’s time or a month’s time with snap lockdowns and restriction changes. Their confidence is destroyed.
“The events sector continues to be one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. They need our urgent support, because they’ve been forgotten by Daniel Andrews.”
Comments attributable to the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, David Davis:
“There is an urgent need for action from the Andrews Labor Government to combat the crisis the events sector is facing.
“Victoria has lost too many critical events and will continue to do so until proper support is provided.
“What we've heard today is very clear testimony about the failure of the State Government.
“These major impediments and lack of funding have made it incredibly difficult for events to bounce back. They cannot do it alone.”