The NSW Government has established a support fund for major events “cancelled or significantly disrupted” by COVID-19 public health orders, it was announced today (January 17).
The Event Saver fund will set aside $43million to “underwrite sunk costs for the festivals that could be impacted by changes to public health orders”, NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said in a presser earlier today, per Pedestrian. Eligible events will be able to pay suppliers, staff and recover other costs with Event Saver funding.
The Event Saver fund was first announced in October 2021, though a figure was not given then. It comes after the Victorian state government launched an interruption insurance scheme for music festivals last November.
For major events that took place or are taking place between December 15, 2021, and December 21, 2022, stage-one expressions of interest for the Event Saver programme are now open, closing on September 30, 2022.
According to Event Saver fund guidelines on Create NSW, only one claim can be made per eligible event, and the maximum amount that can be paid per eligible event is $10million. Exceptions for the latter may be made for not-for-profit organisations at the sole discretion of the Minister for the Arts.
“The financial support provided by Event Saver is intended to contribute towards eligible unrecoverable costs incurred by organisers of affected events; it is not intended to compensate event organisers for loss of revenue or loss of profit,” the guidelines read.
“… Create NSW has an expectation that all suppliers/creditors including performers, artists and other contractors will be accommodated by the funds received.”
Today, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said in a statement: “Major events are a key economic driver that create thousands of jobs across the state.
“The Event Saver Fund will ensure that organisers aren’t left high and dry as we work through this latest phase of the pandemic and sends a strong signal that the Government is here to support business.”
Kean added the funding was in recognition of the impact major events have on the NSW tourism industry and economy, calling them “huge drawcards”.
“It is vital we provide them the support they need when their event is impacted by a Public Health Order,” Kean said. “That is exactly what this funding commitment does.”
On January 8, the NSW Government banned singing and dancing in hospitality and entertainment facilities (including bars and nightclubs) amid a surge of Omicron variant cases in the state. That ban, which is still in place until at least January 27, was extended to music festivals three days later.
As a result of the ban, several events and festivals across NSW have announced in recent weeks their cancellation or postponement, including Grapevine Gathering, Tamworth Country Music Festival and King Street Carnival.
The Australian Festival Association (AFA) welcomes the Event Saver fund, the industry body said in a statement today, though it continues to urge the federal government to contribute to event interruption insurance.
“Today’s announcement of an Event Saver Fund for Major Events has come just in time for organisers impacted by recent restrictions due to the current Omicron wave in NSW,” managing director Julia Robinson said. “It will go a long way to providing improved confidence for major festivals and events scheduled for 2022 and help relieve the financial burdens associated with cancellations.”
Robinson added: “We continue to call on the Commonwealth Government to step in and co-contribute to current state-based insurance and cancellation schemes to enable this nationally touring industry to get back to delivering shows to fans across Australia.”
Additional reporting by Karen Gwee
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