Mr Speaker as we rise to cheer on our footy teams this weekend lets also commit ourselves to meeting the challenges that face every corner of our economy and community as ‘COVID -Normal Australia’ starts to take shape.
Queanbeyan’s Chris Neal runs ‘Eclipse Lighting and Sound’ - a business 21 years in the making.
He employs 104 staff – people who would normally be working at events like the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the National Folk Festival.
Eight of his staff have been eligible for JobKeeper.
Support Chris is very grateful for but as the JobKeeper rate goes backwards, staff are needing to find better paying jobs in other industries – a skills drain that makes him very nervous.
That aside – Chris has watched in despair as football stadiums have swelled with fans, while concert halls and music festivals have fallen silent.
As Chris says, “I have almost no ability to generate income at the moment.”
“Footy can have up to 40,000 people attend.”
“If a stadium can be at half capacity for football why can’t the same stadium be used for a concert with the same restrictions?”
Mr Speaker – Chris doesn’t want to stop footy fans from getting to a game he just wants a level playing field for the jobs and business that rely on big events outside of the sporting arena.
If sport can continue under COVID- Safe controls let’s find a way for the entertainment industry.
As ‘COVID – Normal’ takes shape lets leave no one behind.
This is the challenge of our time, our communities need reassurance - our communities need a plan.
As Chris says, “Why does singing have different rules to sports fans cheering?”