Australian music promoter, Christian Tryhorn, lost $3,200 to the coffers of Canberra’s Department Of Home Affairs when the federal government ordered travel restrictions through Australia’s border.
Tryhorn is calling on the Minister for the Department Of Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, to urgently review and amend the regulations applicable to visas which were applied for in relation to the arts and entertainment industry just prior to this time.
He wrote to the Department requesting a refund on the basis that the pandemic was unforeseeable and the lockdown measures were ultimately of the government’s doing. Not only was the request refused, the rejection letter was a six-page, non-personalised pro-forma word dump citing regulations not at all relevant to his case, such as other visa classes and other circumstances. The letter culminated with a perfunctory footnote, “there is no right of merits review for this decision” and signed very (in)sincerely “Nadine”.
Tryhorn operates Beats Cartel and is an Australian independent international tour promoter which brings a handful of international acts to Australia every year.
He is unlikely to be the only promoter whose plans were scuppered due to COVID-19 which means Canberra is sitting on a stack of hard-earned dollars from hard-working Australian promoters who have already suffered catastrophic losses due to the hard shutdown of borders.
The Gold Coast-based promoter paid $3,200 for eight visas to bring Germany’s Kadaver and Sweden’s Deville for his annual Mojo Burning event as well as subsequent tours booked for Australia and New Zealand.
Tryhorn told scenestr, “This particular action by the Department is just one nail in the coffin. Although not enough to sink the business it is a substantial hit given the $20,000 already invested, now lost due to COVID-19 restrictions, not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars in lost potential revenue.
“This will make it hard to tour bands for at least two years for us as the tour kitty is all but depleted.
“This will make it hard to tour bands for at least two years for us as the tour kitty is all but depleted"
“The Government has an easy opportunity here not to punish an independent promoter, doing their best to bring cultural and financial equity into the Australian music community. I see no reason why such a refund on the back of Government decisions/restrictions should not be made.
“Taking on a Government body seems like such a saga but we have been buoyed by the support of others around me to take up the cause. I'm sure there are many other promoters in this position nationwide.”
Notwithstanding the Department advising there was no chance of appeal, last week the promoter wrote to it stating, “I lodged a total of eight 408 visas for two bands to come to Australia which would have had a positive financial and cultural outcome for around 3,000 Australians on the back of these tours.
“To deny a visa refund based on your/our Government closing the borders to international travel to CoVid (rightly so) but then to turn around and not offer a refund to a hard working Australian businessman, to the tune of $3,200 total, I believe is an extreme injustice in these tough times.
“I believe this is an extreme injustice in these tough times"
In recent weeks The Australian Government has advised of its intentions to support the entertainment industry with announceables including $250 million to restart the creative economy and $400 million to boost the domestic film industry.
Late last year the federal government was criticised for rolling the Arts portfolio into a combined Ministry with Communications and Cyber Safety and as a result it was subject to calls that it was tone deaf to the arts industry, generally.