A new plan to inject vibrancy and confidence back into Shepparton’s shattered events sector will see major events eligible for up to $10 million if they have to cancel at the last minute.
Iconic local events, like the Shepparton Festival, Fryers Street Food Festival and annual agricultural show, have been forced to cancel or scale back celebrations – with no clear return date in sight.
Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan has called for a Local Events Recovery Plan, which includes support to cover the potential cancellation of events.
“Local events have been shattered by uncertainty during the pandemic, with many choosing to cancel rather than risking wearing the high cost of calling things off at the last minute,” Ms Ryan said.
“These cancellations have been a big blow for the region, with local charities and service clubs missing fundraising opportunities and leaving people further isolated when our mental health is already suffering.
“Without a new path forward, many events in Victoria will be forever lost.”
The Nationals’ Local Events Recovery Plan was developed in consultation with the event sector, after operators felt abandoned by the Andrews Labor Government’s roadmap.
It includes a call for a new $140 million Local Events Insurance Scheme to cover the cost of the potential cancellation of events from $20,000 up to $10 million, plus a new $20 million Local Events Attraction Fund to help revive events in regional and rural communities.
Ms Ryan also called for a return to sensible density limits for indoor events of 1 person per 4 square metres or a 75 per cent of fixed seated capacity, once we hit the 70 per cent double vaccinated milestone.
“Targeted support will be crucial to help local events reopen, rebuild and recover from 18 months of cancellations and uncertainty,” Ms Ryan said.
“Arts and music festivals, school fates, agricultural shows and field days are a crucial part of our community’s social fabric, but they’ve often been excluded from critical financial support.
“These measures will provide the financial assistance and certainty needed to support operators to hold COVID Safe events and begin to get this critical sector back on track.”