. Planners in Australia can now apply for the Business Events Grants Program | Meetings & Conventions Asia

Planners in Australia can now apply for the Business Events Grants Program

Upfront grants will cover up to 50 per cent of planning costs for eligible conventions, incentives and exhibitions.

Business Events Council of Australia hopes the grant programme will get money flowing through the supply chain as quickly possible.
Business Events Council of Australia hopes the grant programme will get money flowing through the supply chain as quickly possible.

Event owners in Australia can now begin applying for grants, two months after the government's September announcement of pumping in AU$50 million (US$36.46 million) to steamroll the country's business events industry.

In phase one, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) has rolled out an expression of interest (EOI) process which requires business event owners to establish a Schedule of Approved Business Events. Approved business events, including conventions, incentives and exhibitions, are eligible for upfront grants that cover up to 50 per cent of planning costs (between $10,000 and $250,000).

This is hoped to get money flowing through the supply chain as quickly possible. In addition, the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has urged Australia's business event owners to submit their EOIs by 30 November — so these events will be considered when phase two of the grants programme opens in mid-December.

“[We think] it has identified the most important aspects of the contribution the business events industry can make to the recovery of the Australian economy,” chair of BECA, Dr Vanessa Findlay said.

“The industry has its fingers crossed that the design of the grants programme will provide the necessary financial boost and confidence to business event owners to book and hold their business event during 2021. This grants program must first and foremost turn positive sentiment into confidence, and that confidence into event bookings.”

Also, with mounting reimposition of border controls to the recent Covid-19 cluster in South Australia, the business events industry has urged premiers and chief ministers to react proportionately, so business confidence can be rebuilt.

“For business events, this means decision-makers — those that bear 100 per cent of the risk — will favour the continuation of virtual meetings over in-person meetings, which will have serious consequences for the Australian industry and the economy if delegates can’t move around the country with confidence.”

Continually working to bring Australia to a place where business event owners are confident to plan, book and hold their events, BECA has reiterated their ongoing plans to advise the government on the design and implementation of the Business Events Grants Program. These guidelines will be announced with the roll out of phase two.

“Another year of cancelled and postponed events would put the entire Australian business events industry in a questionable recovery position. Without a solid recovery in 2021, the whole logistics and supply chain for the industry could be dislocated to a point where the impacts are felt for years to come. We do not want to see the industry focused on five years of rebuilding, before moving to recovery and then rebound.”