Australia Victorian events in 'desperate situation'
Victoria to close border with NSW, the ACT
Victoria is closing its border to non-residents from NSW and the ACT over Sydney's worsening outbreak but its "border bubble" arrangement remains unchanged.The Acting Chief Health Officer has declared NSW and the ACT will become red zones under Victoria's travel permit system from 11.59pm on Sunday.
Victoria's struggling event scene fears lingering COVID restrictions from the latest lockdown will continue to wreak havoc on the industry.
As many events were starting to get back up and running again, the fifth lockdown was announced last week and then extended.
Even if Victoria comes out of lockdown next week, restrictions impacting events will likely remain in place for several weeks.
"It's a pretty desperate situation," Save Victorian Events group co-founder Simon Thewlis told AAP.
Victoria slams border shut to NSW and ACT
Victoria has closed its borders to NSW and the ACT, with the entire region becoming a "red zone".Health authorities made the decision after NSW recorded 77 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, with over 100 expected today.
"In Victoria our industry has effectively been shut for the last eight weeks. Just as we were about to start to have some events, we got whacked with lockdown five and we're back to square one again.
"Does this mean that we're now facing at least five or six or seven more weeks before many events can happen?"
On Wednesday, Major Events Minister Martin Pakula announced up to $25,000 each for eligible events and $10,000 for public event suppliers through an extension of the Impacted Public Events Support Program.
"We're making sure the businesses most affected by the lockdown have a chance to emerge from it in decent shape, so they can continue to play their vital role as employers and drivers of Victoria's economy," he said.
However, it only extends to events with more than 1000 people.
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Two couples who were told their stored embryos would be destroyed after the sperm donor withdrew consent have described their devastation. While legal in Victoria, they say change is needed to protect prospective parents once embryos have been created.Last week, the donor that provided sperm for all of Lissa's embryos withdrew consent for them to be used, and Lissa was told they would be destroyed.
Video: Victorian events impacted to receive financial help (Sky News Australia)
"For the majority of the event industry there is nothing there for them," Mr Thewlis says.
Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien says the state government "don't seem to care about the little guy" when making funding decisions.
"There are so many communities in Victoria who are seeing their events close down because of these lockdowns," he said.
"Because they're small towns, small communities often they've got no financial resources to fall back on. And if their events are shutdown that can be the end of these organisations. It's time for the government to stop looking at the big end of town."
Run Melbourne was due to go ahead with about 17,000 participants on Sunday, but had to be cancelled on Tuesday when the lockdown was extended.
Organiser Terry O'Halloran says the financial support offered for event organisers is a "fairly narrow criteria" but he's hopeful it will be broadened to include more events over a longer time frame.
Coronavirus war of words continues between states and Morrison as Delta variant changes the rules
Every now and then, you hear a line come out of a political leader's mouth that is so piercing, you know it will be repeated over and over. Dan Andrews had a belter this week, writes Patricia Karvelas.That moment was this week offered by Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, who, having returned from a long absence from injury, is taking no prisoners.
"The other thing we'd obviously like to see is higher levels of vaccinations, and then some sort of passport system where, if you are fully vaccinated, you're able to participate in outdoor events," Mr O'Halloran told AAP.
Asked about the struggling events sector during Wednesday's COVID update, chief health officer Brett Sutton said Victoria was considering rapid testing for events, but it was not perfect.
"There are individuals who fake their tests. There are individuals who get tested, are negative within 24 hours, but become infectious at the time that they attend," he said.
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance's Adam Portelli says lockdowns in three states have brought performing arts live events to a standstill.
He says while casual or permanent workers may be able to claim government support, "freelancers who make up a large proportion of the arts workforce find themselves in the same situation as last year, forgotten and neglected by the federal government."
The federal government has been contacted for comment.
Victorian construction bosses push to fast-track worker vaccination .
Victorian construction bosses are in talks with the federal and state government to inoculate 40,000 workers by Christmas, as the halt on construction in NSW enters its second week.The Victorian construction industry is hoping to deliver tens of thousands of Pfizer doses on building sites throughout Melbourne in an attempt to insulate the sector from further shutdowns.