Representatives of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) have met with members of the federal Opposition to discuss ongoing uncertainty in the business events community.
The meeting took place virtually between BECA’s Geoff Donaghy (ICC Sydney), Kate Smith (Waldron Smith Management), Matt Pearce (Talk2 Media & Events) and Andrew Hiebl (Association of Australian Convention Bureaux), and the Labor Party’s Senator Don Farrell (Shadow Minister for Tourism) and Tony Burke (Shadow Minister for the Arts).
The conversation focused on BECA’s three key priorities of business survival and retention of specialist industry skills, risk mitigation and confidence, and recovery needs to stimulate demand.
“Given the significant lead time required for the national restart of the business events industry, many parts of our critical supply chain will be faced with the challenge of surviving without functional revenue, noting that any deposits received for future activity must be securely held until services are delivered,” Donaghy said.
“These businesses will continue to run at a loss for another six months or more.”
Farrell commented on the important contribution the business events industry makes to Australia’s visitor economy, “sustaining thousands of businesses and even more jobs”.
“There can be no doubt that the business events sector has suffered significantly as a result of the pandemic. In addition, like many other industries, it’s clear that the business events sector can’t just snap back as soon as borders open,” Farrell said.
“I look forward to continuing to work with BECA to ensure this once thriving industry recovers as soon as possible.”
BECA has also formally submitted a response to the Live Performance Federal Insurance Guarantee Fund Bill 2021 before the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee, backing in its position that the lack of COVID-19 pandemic related event insurance is a handbrake on confidence and will slow the recovery of the business events industry in 2022.
“BECA identified risk mitigation as a key challenge for governments to resolve more than 12 months ago and we continue to see this as a priority for recovery,” Donaghy said.
“A national Commonwealth government-led event insurance scheme, achieved in partnership with state and territory governments, remains our preferred model.”
“The federal government has been willing to provide such a scheme for the screen sector, but not for the arts or live events industry – and they’ve given no reason why,” he said.
“Labor and the sector have been lobbying for this for more than a year – it’s time for the federal government to listen and act.”
Featured image source: iStock/Pratchaya