Thursday, 2 September 2021
Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Bill 2021; In Committee
Now can be the moment, Senator McAllister. This amendment is in relation to a much-needed avenue of support for our arts and entertainment industry, which we know has been smashed throughout the COVID-19 period and the pandemic. Lockdowns, border closures and health restrictions have meant that live performances and other types of live events, in particular, just don't have certainty going forward.
The insurance industry has, of course, done what the insurance industry always does: it has put up higher premiums, which effectively squeeze anyone in the real world out of being able to access them. This amendment simply requests of the government that they establish an insurance guarantee for live performance and live events going forward. Even once we get to the phase of opening up, once we have an appropriate number of people vaccinated in this country—including young people, I might add—companies, small businesses and those in the entertainment and live performance sector simply can't plan without access to insurance. There is a market failure. What this amendment requires is for the government to establish a mechanism to underwrite and guarantee insurance. It's not going to cost the government any money. Companies and businesses will pay into it, as they would an insurance company. It's simply to fill the gap, because there has been a market failure.
If the role of government isn't to step in at times like this, what is the role of government? It is simply unworkable for this industry to continue limping on without proper support from the government of the day. This doesn't solve all the problems, but it would go some way to giving the industry a helping hand. I hope the government considers this proposal in good faith and, if they don't take this one up, does something that will help—that will deliver insurance going forward for this sector so that we can get the show back on the road. I move Greens amendment (1) on sheet 1402:
(1) Page 12 (after line 14), at the end of the Bill, add:
Schedule 3 — Live Performance Federal Insurance Guarantee Fund
1 Live Performance Federal Insurance Guarantee Fund
(1) There is to be a Live Performance Federal Insurance Guarantee Fund.
(2) The Treasurer must, by legislative instrument, make rules to provide for and in relation to the establishment, governance and operation of the Fund, the purpose of which is to provide for a fund to underwrite an insurance scheme for the live performance sector to fill a market failure in the insurance industry as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.
(3) Money for the Fund is to be from funds appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of this Act.
(4) The Treasurer must make rules for the purposes of subsection (2) within 30 days after the commencement of this Act.