Victoria is known as the live music and sport capital of Australia, but there’s no denying that both industries are in strife right now. Today, the Victorian government announced a $150 million package that could help Victoria’s “experience economy” bounce back.
The Experience Economy Survival Package will support Victorian sporting clubs and competitions, as well as major tourist attractions like Puffing Billy, galleries and museums, as well as a significant sum for the racing industry.
The package includes $40 million for community sport and recreation bodies including state sporting associations, leagues and clubs; $16 million for national sporting organisations; $5.3 million for the State Sport Centres Trust and the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust; as well as $44 million to the state’s racing industry.
Martin Pakula, minister for jobs, racing and tourism, said that the decisions made today are “based on need”.
More than $32 million will be going to creative institutions and initiatives, with money heading to the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Recital Centre, Arts Centre Melbourne, Museums Victoria and the Geelong Arts Centre. According to Martin Foley, minister for mental health, equality and creative industries, “these are organisations that were hit hardest and earliest in the closure attended to the Covid emergency.”
“We know that on projections based on advice from the national cabinet, on WorkSafe and from the chief health officer, that their journey back is also going to be a difficult one,” said Foley. “We must make sure we are there with those communities, with those institutions to deliver the support they need on the other side of this crisis. We want to make sure that we have the most visited gallery in the country [...] and that we have the busiest arts centre precinct and theatres precinct in the country.”
On top of that there will be $4 million heading to musicians and the live music sector. Victoria’s live music sector is the envy of the world, with over 70,000 live music gigs happening in Victoria over the past year. Foley said that the government wanted to make sure that post-pandemic, there will be support for live music creators with “marketing, new material, recording… so we’re sustaining them during this crisis period. “According to the I Lost My Gig website... we’ve seen over 280,000 scratchings of events and support for people across the music industry over the course of this year with so many gigs being cancelled.”
“We want to make sure that we are in a position, when the Covid crisis passes, subject to changes associated to social distancing and other measures, that we are supporting those live music creators,” said Foley.
A further $2 million will go to the Sustaining Creative Workers Fund which was announced a few weeks ago. This fund provides support to workers who were cut out of the JobKeeper arrangements due to the nature of their work.
Foley said that the goal is to get these venues open very soon – but only when experts agree it is safe to do so.
“Once we are in a position to act on the chief health officer’s advice, WorkSafe’s advice and the practicalities of delivering that, we want to reopen all those venues as soon as we possibly can. But the proviso is when it’s safe to do so for the audience, for the visitors and the workforce.”