Two out of every three jobs in the Australian live entertainment sector have been lost this year, according to a new report, prompting calls for greater government assistance.
Live events throughout Australia, from music to comedy to sport, have been hobbled by capacity restrictions imposed on venues as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The preliminary findings of a report by consulting firm EY found that while live entertainment supported 112,000 full-time-equivalent jobs in 2019, that number was forecast to fall to 43,000 for 2020 if restrictions continued until December.
Economic output from the sector has fallen 65 per cent this year, with no guarantee of improvement in 2021 if large crowd gatherings remain difficult and international borders closed.
The report was commissioned by the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), which includes major music promoters TEG, Live Nation and Frontier, as well as the heads of various stadiums and the Australian Festivals Association.
The job losses reflect not just artists but the many people who surround events, from production and venue staff to hotel workers.
“I don’t think people understand the diversity and the reach” of the sector,” said Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG.
He said a lot of smaller businesses were integral to the staging of larger events, and their possible demise — if more support was not offered — would make any restart to the $36 billion industry difficult.
JobKeeper ‘can’t be turned off for every industry’
The industry wants the Federal Government to extend the JobKeeper program for its workers beyond the March end point.
“The Federal and state governments are doing the best they can,” Mr Jones said.
But he said that “you can’t turn the tap off for every industry” at the same time, arguing that by its nature the live event industry would be one of the last parts of the economy to return to normal.
- The losses for 2020 in the live event space are expected to total $23 billion
- Job losses include many roles connected to entertainment and sport
- The Treasurer recently defended the March end date for JobKeeper