Live artists and festival organizers have re-called for a government-backed business interruption (IB) scheme after the cancellation last week of the Bluesfest event in Byron Bay has dealt another blow to the virus-stricken entertainment industry.
The NSW government’s health directive to cancel the iconic music festival is estimated to have cost the event organizer at least $ 10 million, losses that would not be covered by the BI policies after the insurance industry introduced COVID-related exclusions last year in the wake of the pandemic. .
The directive was issued after a new locally acquired COVID-19 case resulted in restrictions in parts of northern New South Wales.
“We called for a business interruption fund – essentially an insurance fund for affected creative businesses to access in times of emergency – for situations exactly like this,” said Julia Robinson, CEO of the Australian Festival Association, in a statement.
The Live Entertainment Industry Forum – a group made up of the nation’s largest entertainment and sports promoters, venue managers and leading cutting-edge organizations – submitted a proposal last year for a BI fund to be subscribed by governments .
According to Ms Robinson, who is one of the forum’s executive committee members, event promoters and other participants in the proposed program will contribute a percentage of the amount of coverage they seek.
“The proposal is with the government at the moment,” Ms. Robinson told InsuranceNEWS.com.au today. “Listen, there have been responses from some state and federal governments.
“No one is obviously involved in anything, but we are working hard on advocacy for a fund. Insurance existed before and it is simply not available at the moment. “
Live Performance Australia, which is also a member of the entertainment forum, described the proposed BI fund as a “matter of urgency”.
“This is compelling proof that a business disruption fund is essential to the survival of live entertainment events in an environment where no promoter or producer can get insurance,” said CEO Evelyn Richardson. “This is a decisive moment.
“Our industry has worked with all governments to bring our people back to work, our shows on stage and on tour. However, continued instant closures and border restrictions are straining consumer and industry confidence.
“We have been closed for a year. We cannot survive the next six to twelve months without some form of insurance.
NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres was quoted in local media this weekend as saying any kind of disruption support would be run by the federal government, but the state government was open to “new discussions”.
But Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said that since public health decisions rested with the state government, they were “in the best position to provide an interruption-fund type facility for live events.”
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