UPDATE 18/10/16: A petition has been launched to stop the Australian Government’s entertainment visa price hike, and already has over 6,100 signatures at the time of writing.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Australian Government has made a decision which could legitimately strangle the future of international live music touring in Australia as we know it, according to industry body Live Performance Australia.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has announced a plan which could Stop The
Boats Tours once and for all by jacking up Visa fees by 600 per cent starting next month, and the Aussie music industry is straight-up shitting itself, because this pretty much guarantees some acts will opt out of touring down under rather than cop the financial blow.
As if it wasn’t already pricey enough for international artists to travel the gazillion miles it take to get down under, the Liberal Government’s planned Visa price hike will effectively scrap the long-standing group discount for entertainment Visas for overseas touring groups, something Live Performance Australia (LPA) reckons will “hit the financial viability of international tours, leading to fewer tours, reduced job opportunities for Australian performers and workers in the live performance industry, and higher ticket prices”.
So basically, it could deal our live music industry a heavy blow, impacting every aspect of touring, from the price you’ll pay to see a band to the continued viability of major international-packed festivals like Bluesfest, Splendour In The Grass and Falls Festival.
According to a statement from LPA, “Under the new charges, the visa processing fee for the organisers of Bluesfest have soared by 600 per cent to $55,000. Other festivals such as Splendour in the Grass and the Falls Festival face visa fee increases of more than 200 per cent for their international artists.”
And LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson says the whole thing is a “massive money grab by the Government, which is being introduced under the guise of a new online visa processing system that is supposed to cut red tape and streamline visa approvals”.
“Australians who go to a live performance event or who work in the industry will be the biggest losers under this new scheme, as well as those who work in local tourism and hospitality businesses especially in regional communities,” she says.
LPA is gung-ho about changing the Turnbull Government’s mind on the potentially catastrophic decision before the changes come into effect on 19th November.
“LPA has raised our concerns with the Minister and is seeking an urgent meeting to resolve these issues which will have a hugely detrimental effect on Australia’s live performance industry,” Richardson says.
Well, we’ll be rooting for you, LPA.