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Greens urge state to ease gig venue premiums 

The Victorian Greens have called on the State Government to offer cheaper insurance for struggling live music venues through the authority that provides public sector and builders’ warranty cover. 

They say public liability premium rises, on top of soaring rents and cost-of-living issues, have put venues under pressure. Many have closed and others are considering options. 

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Greens arts spokesperson Gabrielle de Vietri said. “Our government could provide a lifeline to these venues by providing cheaper insurance.” 

Ms de Vietri says cheaper cover could be offered through the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority, which the State Government directed during the covid crisis to offer cancellation insurance for live music and community events.

The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority insures $201 billion of state assets, including road, rail, hospitals, schools, cultural institutions, cemeteries and national parks. It also provides domestic building insurance for incomplete or defective works where a builder has died, disappeared or become insolvent. 

The Greens have started a petition calling on the state to offer smaller live music venues affordable insurance, arguing a grants program does not provide long-term stability or reassurance. 

The Victorian Government last weekend launched the Live Music Festivals Fund, with grants of up to $50,000, and 10,000 Gigs: The Victorian Gig Fund, with grants of up to $10,000 to assist with events staging and artist fees.

“We’re proud of our world-class music industry and we’re working hard to support our vibrant and diverse local live music venues, festivals and their staff as they navigate Australia-wide challenges,” a government spokesperson told 

The State Government says it doesn’t have powers to set or cap premiums, the Federal Government is responsible for regulating the insurance industry, and public liability cover costs and availability are national issues, particularly for small to medium venues. 

The Australian Festival Association this week pressed for federal action to assist with insurance. 

Association Chair Adelle Robinson told a Senate committee in Canberra that festival premiums “are sometimes 10 times more than they were pre-2022”, on top of rising operational costs, extreme weather events and cost-of-living impacts on people wanting to attend festivals. 

“Festivals are currently experiencing a crisis that is from a combination of issues all occurring at once, to create what we see as a perfect storm,” she said. 

“From a federal perspective, we need a government-run or backed insurance scheme. We have been asking for this since the end of covid. I advised the Government to look at the Victorian Government post-covid insurance scheme as a potential model and way to move forward.” 

The Senate Environment and Communications References Committee is inquiring into the National Cultural Policy, a five-year plan seeking to revive the arts, entertainment and cultural sectors. 

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts is separately inquiring into live music industry challenges.