Preliminary findings found in a new report from EY reveal the impact that COVID-19 has had on the Australian live entertainment industry.
The study, published in partnership with the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) predicts a loss of $23.6 billion in economic output of the industry if restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic remain in place until the end of the year.
A loss of 79,000 live entertainment industry workers (two thirds) is also predicted – with the report estimating a decline from 122,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2019 to 43,000 by the end of 2020. The full results from the study are set to be released later this month.
LEIF, which represents Australia’s largest live entertainment employers, said that while the industry is grateful for the support provided from the government to date, the new data shows the urgency of additional support to prevent lasting damage.
The organisation has recommended a range of actions including the continuation of a JobKeeper-style support program for industry employees until the live industry returns to normal operations.
They’ve also recommended a moratorium on GST on live event tickets, an industry-led Live Entertainment Business Interruption Fund underwritten by government, and a significant expansion of the RISE grant funding program, with a particular focus on assisting commercial, non-subsidised live entertainment operators to deliver popular live events in COVID-safe formats.
“The Federal Government is understandably focused on jobs. This vitally important report shows that our sector, which normally supports 122,000 full-time equivalent jobs, has lost nearly two-thirds of those jobs this year,” commented LEIF Chair James Sutherland in a statement.
“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. 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.”