Live entertainment industry estimated to lose $23.6billion in economic output

Roughly 79,000 jobs are predicted to be lost

Preliminary findings from a new report have estimated the economic output of the live entertainment industry will decline by $23.6billion should restrictions remain in place for the rest of the year.

The report, published by EY in partnership with the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), predicts the coronavirus pandemic will lead to a drop of two thirds in economic output if restrictions continue through 2020. Last year, the industry contributed approximately $36.4billion to the Australian economy.

In terms of workers, the report estimates jobs in the industry will decline from 122,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2019 to 43,000 full-time equivalent jobs by the end of the year.

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While festivals and live events are slowly re-emerging in states across Australia, such as the Good Day Sunshine festival in Western Australia, the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme was reduced from $1,500 per fortnight to $1,200 or $750 per fortnight in late September. Many live entertainment workers claimed they weren’t eligible for JobKeeper in the first place.

In a statement, LEIF has called for a continuation of the JobKeeper program “until such time as the live entertainment industry returns to normal operation”. Additionally, the group has also asked for a moratorium on GST for live event tickets and an expansion of the $75million RISE grants fund.

“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,” LEIF chairperson James Sutherland 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.”

In a live-streamed event discussing the report earlier today (October 14), EY’s Matt Colston said it is an industry “that could bounce back stronger”.

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“We always bounce back. Timing that bounce-back can vary depending on a number of things, but we always bounce back to higher than what we were before. I’m confident the industry will come back stronger and better,” he said.

The preliminary report, The Economic Cost of COVID-19 on Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry, will be released in full later this month.

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