04 February, 2022 - News

NSW announces events fund to ease COVID disruption

The following excerpt is taken from an Arts Hub article published on the 18 Jan 2022.

Major events and festivals in NSW that are cancelled or significantly disrupted by COVID public health orders will  be able to apply for relief funding from the NSW Government.

The $43 million Event Saver Fund, launched on Monday, will provide the state’s major event organisers with financial security and certainty, according to Premier Dominic Perrottet.

‘Major events are a key economic driver that create thousands of jobs across the state. The Event Saver Fund will ensure that organisers aren’t left high and dry as we work through this latest phase of the pandemic and sends a strong signal that the Government is here to support business,’ the Premier said.

Who can apply?

Events held between Wednesday 15 December 2021 and Saturday 31 December 2022 and which are either cancelled outright or significantly disrupted as a result of COVID public health orders, will be eligible for the fund.

Application is via a two-stage process, with the first phase involving an Expression of Interest from affected parties.

Supporting tourism and the arts

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the Event Saver Fund recognised the important impact major events have on driving tourism as well as on the broader NSW economy.

‘Festivals and major events are huge drawcards and they have been significantly disrupted by the latest Omicron wave of COVID-19… It is vital we provide them the support they need when their event is impacted by a Public Health Order. That is exactly what this funding commitment does.’ Kean said.

Newly appointed Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin noted while the pandemic has had a devastating effect on artists’ ability to perform live, Monday’s announcement showed the Government’s strong commitment to the sector.

‘Major events provide tremendous social benefits to the community, bringing us together to enjoy live performances,’ he said.

‘As we look to rebound from the effects of the past two years, this funding will help support local jobs and ensure major event organisers can plan with confidence to safely deliver their events in 2022/23.’

The sector responds:

The new fund has been warmly met – though with some caveats – by the NSW arts sector.

Sydney Fringe Festival Director and CEO Kerri Glasscock told ArtsHub: ‘This is incredibly welcome news for an important part of the sector and adds to the significant support the NSW Government has provided over the past two years. This most recent wave has essentially once again shut down our sector with cancellations and loss of employment across the board.

‘While this [fund] is a key piece of the puzzle I encourage Government to also support small-medium scale events that may not meet the “Major Event” criteria, but which are essential employers and important activators of the COVID recovery for our cities and regions. Venues and artists are also still doing it tough and will need support to get through the next few months. ” Glasscock said.

Music copyright collective APRA AMCOS also welcomed the Event Saver Fund, describing it as a ‘crucial first step’ in supporting the NSW live music industry.

‘The music industry has been devastated once again by the COVID-19 pandemic and new health orders banning singing and dancing in NSW have effectively shut down our industry once again,’ said Dean Ormston, CEO, APRA AMCOS.

‘The announcement by the NSW Government to establish an Event Saver Fund is an important first step in ensuring that the live music industry in NSW can survive this latest wave.” Ormston said.

‘Approaching the third year of the pandemic, we urgently need the NSW Department of Health to develop more sophisticated guidelines including vaccine mandates and mask wearing instead of the blunt instrument of “no singing and no dancing” restrictions.

At The Sydney Fringe, we are hopeful that our venues will be full and our theatres packed. As restrictions ease and change and morph into new rules, we will be ready to pivot and excited to welcome in crowds again.