The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) says investment in ongoing targeted support is an urgent priority to ensure the sector’s survival, following the end of JobKeeper on Monday.
Research by the industry body has found that while 87 per cent of business events organisations accessed the initial JobKeeper program to September 2020, reliance on the wage subsidy continued, with 85 per cent of businesses still accessing the program for the January-to-March 2021 period.
“The bottom line is that without additional government support to get business event businesses through the next six months, 23 per cent of businesses will be closing their doors and a further 32 per cent are questioning if they have the means to survive,” BECA chair Dr Vanessa Findlay said.
“Forty-seven per cent of the businesses that think they will survive will be letting more staff go.”
Findlay said the Business Events Grants Program, which was recently extended by the federal government, was “simply not sufficient nor effective enough to bring the support desperately needed”.
“We will not only see more job losses and business failures in the short term, but also long-term ramifications for the economic potential of the industry. We will lose market share to other countries that may never return.
“Indicators for a return to in-person business events in the next six months are looking good, but we need to survive now to make it there. To do that, we need additional targeted government support.
“BECA will continue its engagement with government towards achieving these critical outcomes.”
Featured image source: iStock/SergeyChayko