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
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.”