Group Director calls for vital roadmap for events industry amidst reopening of Victoria
The Director of DE Group (Definitive Events Group), Rod Lockwood, is calling for more answers and a detailed roadmap from the Government to reopen the events industry, amidst Victoria’s recent reopening of several other industries.
Lockwood, whose group owns several major events companies including GTR Events, GoFish Nagambie, Equine Productions and the Geelong Outdoor Living Show, says the events sector, along with hospitality and tourism are key economic drivers of the Victorian economy and whilst fitness, retail, beauty, cinemas and hospitality have received detailed support in the governments reopening roadmap, those in events have been left in the dark.
The events industry generates considerable revenue for Victoria, with a 2019 study by leading consultants Ernst and Young finding that the value of major events for the Victorian economy had reached $2.5 billion a year.
Victorian events companies and associated industry workers are therefore seeking certainty from the government, calling for three key actions to be made to assist with a safe reopening and to help rebuild a precious part of Victoria’s culture.
Key components include:
- Immediate certainty on dates for when events are expected to reopen
- Centralised rules and regulations on reopening i.e. indoor capacity measurements/outdoor capacity. The rules on “how” reopening will occur to be clearly defined, such as those in hospitality.
- Regulations on COVID safe plans; a clear idea on how both stakeholders and the government can work together to bring the industry back safely.
The three industries of events, hospitality and tourism are indelibly linked, contributing to Victoria gaining an international reputation as a vibrant cosmopolitan state and Melbourne as one of the world’s most liveable cities. Lockwood maintains that despite the key economic value of the events sector of the trio, the Government has failed to provide any direction or inclusions for this sector on its COVID roadmap.
Mr. Lockwood adds that the industry has further challenges in its nature with months of planning needed to manage large scale events, and with no roadmap or considerations for the months ahead, operations are challenged significantly:
“Due to the mass cancellations of 2020, the 2021 events calendar will be crowded and the industry (including venues and suppliers) needs to be able to commit to dates to properly structure the reopening of events in an orderly manner.”
With large scale, worldwide events such as the Australian Open, Spring Racing Carnival, and Grand Prix held annually in Melbourne, Victorian events companies have shown their sophistication in being able to operate at world’s best practice, a factor which has been overlooked by the Victorian Government.
Mr Lockwood further supports the needed reopening of events, exclaiming that a key capability of this sector is in the ability to trace and manage details of patrons, which should be a key indicator in allowing its safe reopening:
“Events are technologically innovative and have systems in place to track and contact trace attendees and workers in a detailed manner. Considering Queensland recently safely held the AFL Grand Final with 30,000 spectators, why can’t Victoria allow for events to commence with safely managed numbers as so many other states have done so?” says Mr. Lockwood.
With numerous events companies closed, employees on JobKeeper or thousands having already left the industry, stakeholders maintain it is imperative that engagement with the Government begins imminently, to ensure the environment for reopening is established and this vital industry is kept afloat.
With thousands of small businesses also making up the industry, a decline in support will result a major loss to the states culture and economy.
“Employers have invested in this talent and we need to be able to commit to our employees so they know they have a future.”
The events industry seeks engagement with the Victorian Government to work co-operatively and effectively to structure the safe return of events.
A clear and definite roadmap is needed to indicate how and when those in the events can begin to plan and bring back such a vital part of our states’ economy.