BECA says Business Events Grants Program extension “a starting point”

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has welcomed the extension of the Business Events Grants Program, and says it will continue working with the federal government in developing targeted support solutions for the industry.

The government announced on Thursday that the $50 million program will be extended by three months to 30 June 2021 as part of its $1.2 billion support package for the tourism industry.

There have been several other changes to the Business Events Grants Program, including the minimum grant amount being reduced to $5,000 (from $10,000) to allow smaller businesses the opportunity to apply.

Support has been extended to events scheduled through to 31 March 2022 to allow those that were postponed early this year the opportunity to benefit from the program.

The government has also increased the number of delegates covered by the grant and increased the sponsorship cap, as well as expanding the priority sectors.

An updated version of the program guidelines and eligibility criteria for the schedule of approved business events will be published by end of March.

BECA chair Dr Vanessa Findlay said: “The business events industry is clearly a sector that requires targeted assistance to enable its recovery.

“Given the challenges we are facing with operating restrictions, border closures, consumer confidence to travel to participate in events and the lead time required to plan and deliver events, our research shows the industry is still nine to 12 months away from any significant return to business operations.

“Targeted support is critical to sustain valuable businesses and event professionals in the interim period as is the timing and implementation of this support.

“We consider the announcement yesterday as a starting point of what is required by government to support the sector, and look forward to continuing our consultation with the government to develop targeted solutions to achieve these outcomes as a priority.”

Featured image source: iStock/Olivier Le Moal