As Melbourne and the state of Victoria emerge from the world’s longest, and arguably most brutal, lockdown, a new support mechanism is in place to kick-start concerts.

Daniel Andrews’ Government unveils a $20 million Live Music Restart package, and a year-long interruption insurance scheme which should help prop up events companies should snap lockdowns crush their plans.

Announced over the weekend by state Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson, the $20 million fund will be carved up three ways.

From that pot, $8 million will be made available for music venues to recruit and train new staff, invest in COVIDSafe infrastructure and get more musicians and industry professionals back on stage and into employment.

Also, festivals and events will get access to $8 million in recovery aid from “the uncertainty and impact of rescheduled and cancelled events due to the pandemic,” a statement reads.

Additionally, $4 million in new support will “bring music performances” to the CBD and inner-city.

And in an Australian-first, officials have announced a COVID-19 event insurance product, the type that APRA AMCOS and Live Performance Australia has been pleading for since the pandemic began.

The policy will insure up to $230 million of events should situations arise where gates are closed due to public health measures, or, importantly, when events are forced to operate with reduced capacity.

The insurance scheme will give organisers of creative, sporting, business and community events the confidence to plan and stage future events, a statement reads, and is subsidised by the Government and delivered by the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA).

The Australian Festival Association welcomes the events insurance scheme and restart package.

“The inability to insure against COVID related cancelations and restrictions has been a huge barrier to festivals getting back to business,” comments AFA Managing Director Julia Robinson in a statement.

“Health measures such as restrictions on gatherings and lockdowns, while necessary, often come with little or no notice making it difficult when festivals are months and years in the making. Access to a product that allows organisers the certainty to balance risk and safety with commercial reality would address this market failure, and it’s needed across the country.”

The Andrews government’s insurance policy follows confirmation of similar systems put in place in Europe, the U.K. and, most recently, New Zealand, all of which were implemented at a national level.

LPA also welcomed the development. And like Robinson, the LPA’s CEO Evelyn Richardson has urged the federal government and state of New South Wales to follow suit.

“The industry lost $1.4 billion in revenue in 2020 and the losses in 2021 are significant given our two major markets, NSW and Victoria, which comprise 60 percent of national business activity, are only now coming out of long lock downs,” Richardson comments.

“We call on the NSW Government to step up and establish a mirror or similar scheme before the end of the year to provide greater investment confidence.”

LPA also urges the Commonwealth Government to “step up and co-contribute to state-based insurance schemes to enable broadening of the scheme. As an industry that tours nationally, we have always called for a national co-contribution scheme shared between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments.”

Melbourne, which owned the dubious title of the world’s most locked down city, reopened last month when the population’s full vaccination rate ticked above 80%.

The city had endured 262 days of stay-at-home restrictions, that stretched across six lockdowns since March 2020.

For more information on the COVID-19 Events Insurance or to register your interest, visit https://www.vmia.vic.gov.au/event.

Application details will be announced soon.