BECA urges JobKeeper extension and evidence-based, consistent approach to state borders

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has urged the government to extend JobKeeper, commit to better border management and develop a nationally-consistent approach to the management of hotspots.

According to BECA, the industry invested heavily in preparing its businesses to deliver COVID-safe events in terms of protocols, training and infrastructure, and has demonstrated its ability to do so safely and effectively.

Whilst there is a genuine appetite to conduct events, the council is arguing that border restrictions are impacting the confidence of event organisers and participants to make commitments, resulting in cancellations for the first half of 2021.

The BECA has expressed concerns that the business events industry will not recover if it is limited to conducting state-based events as a result of this uncertainty, noting that the industry needs the size and scope of national event participation.

BECA chair Dr Vanessa Findlay said: “We are not in the position of recovery we envisaged for early 2021, and continue to face extraordinary challenges to ensure the survival of the business events sector.”

“With the impending conclusion of the JobKeeper scheme, the industry is deeply concerned the conditions that led to JobKeeper have not improved for the business events industry.

“Businesses cannot remain viable with revenue losses that are averaging more than 70 per cent, and this has been ongoing for over 12 months now. We cannot see a path to recovery for the industry if it does not include some form of ongoing targeted government support.

“BECA continues its work with the federal government to formulate options for ongoing support programs, and extends its calls to our state leaders to consider state-based recovery grants.

“We have business in the pipeline for 2021 and beyond, and need to ensure we can sustain the infrastructure and professional expertise through this critical period.”

Featured image source: iStock/Daria Nipot