Mr Sutherland said the industry contributed $150 billion to the economy and employed more than 170,000 Australian workers.
“We are developing operating principles and minimum guidelines that can be adapted across the industry,” Mr Sutherland, who finished as Cricket Australia chief executive in 2018 and will chair the new forum, said.
We have to start somewhere and part of it is building confidence in our processes.
“We have to start somewhere and part of it is building confidence in our processes, both for government and fans. Going to an event isn’t going to be the same as it once was. We have to adapt to these circumstances as they unfold.”
The forum’s executive committee will unite rivals, including bosses from entertainment promoters TEG, Live Nation, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment and AE; venues including Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Sydney Cricket Ground, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne Olympic Parks, Adelaide Oval, ASM Global and industry bodies including Venues West, Venues Live, Michael Cassel Group, Live Performance Australia, Venue Management Association and the Australian Festivals Association.
“Our industry has to work together at this challenging time. We must put aside our natural competitive instincts so we can all bring large-scale live events back to the Australian people safely,” TEG chief executive Geoff Jones said.
Live entertainment and sporting events were among the first to be shut down when nationwide social distancing restrictions were introduced in March, and will be among the last to relaunch. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s three-step framework extends to allowing unrestricted gatherings of 100 people.
“With the industry on its knees, the way back is through a collective effort, the industry is united working through this and putting differences aside to deliver a COVID-safe environment … to get fans back in venues and people back in jobs,” Mr Sutherland said.
The NRL has resumed playing to empty stadiums but the NSW government has granted the competition permission to allow limited numbers of fans to attend live games, subject to the “one person every four square metres” rule, for the first time since the lockdown began. The NRL is working through the details but the first fans will be confined to catering areas within the venues, with the hope more fans can return from July 1.