Federal Government announces $50m grant for Australia’s business events industry

The Federal Government has confirmed a $50m grant for Australia’s business events industry, part of the government’s $1bn COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund which supports sectors severely impacted by the pandemic.

The grant will enable organisers of business events, such as conferences and exhibitions, to apply for upfront grants to cover up to 50 per cent of their costs (between $10,000 and $250,000).

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) reports COVID-19 has cost Australia’s visitor economy $35.7bn. The Australian events industry was one of the first industries to be hit by the pandemic, with 96% of business events scheduled for 2020 cancelled or postponed in March.  The industry, which is the employer of 229,000 people, is also expected to have one of the longest recovery periods.

BECA chair Dr Vanessa Findlay

BECA chair, Dr Vanessa Findlay, welcomed the grant, stating the industry can now look to the future.

“Australia’s business events industry is deeply appreciative of the Federal Government’s support through this grants program,” she said.

“Our industry has been devastated by COVID-19. We can now look to rebuilding business confidence and kick-starting momentum across the entire business events supply chain – for meetings, conventions, incentives and exhibitions. BECA’s goal is to not only support the business events industry itself, but to also maximise the contribution business events make to the recovery of the wider economy. This support package will be pivotal to that.”

The Australian Business Events Grants Program was negotiated by BECA with the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia.

EEAA chief executive, Claudia Sagripanti, said in a statement: “The Federal Government’s recognition of the critical role that exhibitions play as a vehicle for economic recovery, is to be commended.

“This funding will assist in the business events industry getting back on its feet, and doing what it does best – connecting businesses through consumer and trade shows and conferences, to keen buyers of new products and services. We also look forward to the reopening of state borders to support the viability of the industry.”

Last year over 43 million people attended over 480,000 business events in Australia. Recent survey results from BECA found 48% of businesses do not have any events planned for 2021.

Australian Convention Centres Group representative and BECA deputy chair, Geoff Donaghy, said: “The funding package will not only help boost client confidence to start planning events again but, critically, it also acknowledges of the enormous economic, cultural and social value of the business events industry to Australia.”

The grant follows the release of $250m loans and grant package for the arts industry, which includes $90m in grants and concessional loans to fund new productions.


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