The Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has urged the federal government to immediately extend any remaining money available under the Business Events Grants Program.
EEAA chief executive Claudia Sagripanti said the association’s members need the program to reopen for new applications urgently.
“In September 2020, Austrade opened applications for exhibitors and potential exhibitors, with $50 million available for assistance,” she said.
“The EEAA is aware of many exhibitors across a range of exhibition types and locations applying for and being approved, and welcomed the speed with which Austrade acted to process applications.”
However, while the funding program’s closure at the end of March was announced as temporary, Sagripanti said it isn’t clear whether there are funds left over from the original $50 million available to assist the industry.
“If there is money left after currently approved applications, EEAA calls for applications to urgently reopen to distribute any remaining money,” she said.
“The events sector was one of the first to be impacted by the federal government’s changes to mass gathering rules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is one of the last to be reactivated.
“Many businesses, which are privately-owned SMEs, lost over 90 per cent of their income and have had no alternative ways of generating revenue due to these restrictions.
“Exhibitions and events have restarted, but at a much lower level than pre-COVID. Giving the industry modest government assistance is the confidence boost needed to exhibit and get employment back to normal.”