Damning new report details true impact of COVID on live events
The Live Entertainment Industry Forum has asked Canberra to take urgent action following a new report into the pandemic’s economic impact on Australia’s live events sector.
The Economic Cost of COVID-19 on Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry, produced by EY, lays bare the devastating impact of restrictions on mass gatherings.
Preliminary findings from the report, which is set to be released in full later this month, estimated the sector’s output last year to be $36.4 billion.
If restrictions remain in place until year’s end, EY believes the pandemic will result in a catastrophic fall in revenue to $12.8 billion, signalling a 65% decline.
EY also said the total value added by live entertainment is predicted to fall by 65%, from $16.6 billion in 2019 to $5.9 billion in 2020, highlighting a downturn of $10.7 billion.
The preliminary findings show the sector supported 122,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2019, and forecast that in 2020 this will fall from 79,000 to 43,000 full-time equivalent jobs – if current restrictions remain in place until December.
LEIF, which represents Australia’s largest live entertainment employers, said that it is grateful for the support provided to the industry to date but added that the new data shows urgent ongoing and additional support is essential to prevent further job losses and lasting damage to the sector.
The consortium is asking the Federal Government for the “continuation of a JobKeeper-style program”, a pause on GST for tickets, and “Interruption Fund” underwritten by Government, and a “significant expansion” of the RISE grant funding program.
LEIF chair James Sutherland said the sector has already lost nearly two-thirds of its workforce.
“JobKeeper has provided a lifeline for our sector, but the prospect of it disappearing in March 2021 – when the industry is likely to remain massively inhibited by key pandemic-related restrictions – is of grave concern to all industry operators,” he said.
“For our sector to operate profitably we require venues operating at full capacity, unrestricted interstate movement, and open international borders without extensive quarantine. Without those necessary conditions, the outlook is truly bleak.
“Given the long route to recovery, and the nature of lasting restrictions, we believe that an industry extension to JobKeeper is a fair and important next step.”