Omicron variant prompts industry groups to repeat calls for business interruption scheme

The new push for an insurance scheme was co-signed by Live Performance Australia, APRA AMCOS, PPCA, ARIA and more groups

Australia’s live entertainment bodies have reiterated calls for a government-backed business interruption scheme in light of the newly-discovered Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Live Performance Australia, APRA AMCOS, PPCA, ARIA, the Australian Live Music Business Council and other groups have jointly signed a statement requesting a financial compensation fund for live entertainment businesses that are forced to cancel or postpone events due to pandemic-related restrictions.

“The emergence of this new [Omicron] variant on the heels of Delta and the rapid global response to limit its spread is a salutary reminder that this is not over yet,” the statement read.

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“For an industry getting back on its feet, investing nationally and working hard to get shows back on stage and touring, the ongoing threat of future business disruption is very real.”

Earlier this month, the Victorian Government announced an interruption scheme pilot program that would insure up to $230million for “events cancelled because of public health measures, or because of reduced capacity due to restrictions”. A $50million temporary interruption fund was also launched by the Morrison Government last year for the screen industry.

However, the new statement urges the remaining states and territories, as well as the Commonwealth, to coordinate a co-contribution scheme.

“Protecting our industry assets and skills base is critical to ensuring we play our part in maintaining employment and bringing back economic and social benefits to our cities and regions. The industry calls on all levels of government to come together and establish a partnership approach with industry, delivering a government-backed insurance scheme and ongoing support.”

Australia has recorded five cases of the Omicron variant in New South Wales and one in the Northern Territory.

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