EEAA president says government’s $50 million funding will not be enough

The president of the Exhibition & Event Association of Australia (EEAA) is urging states to reopen borders and workers to return to offices as soon as it is safe.

In a message posted on the EEAA’s website, Spiro Anemogiannis said the $50 million federal government funding – which was welcomed by other industry bigwigs – is not enough without the reopening of state borders or until 60 per cent Sydney’s workforce has returned to their offices.

“Whilst the $50 million federal government funding is a positive step in the right (restart) direction, state borders need to reopen asap to allow national events to be scheduled with confidence along with the easing of event space restrictions,” he said.

“Even with all of the above, it is still not enough.

“Only when the workforce in the corporate world starts to return to their office in greater numbers will our clients and customers be confident enough to attend our events.”

Anemogiannis said it was important that the industry demonstrates it can work together in-person under the new COVID-19 rules and to put into practice all the safety protocols it plans to bring to events.

“Where it is safe and possible, I encourage you all to return to working from your office,” he said.

EEAA chief executive Claudia Sagripanti has been lobbying all governments and officials since she commenced her role and, according to Anemogiannis, the results are starting to come in.

Sagripanti is set to detail the new $50 million Australian Business Events Grants Program timeline and eligibility criteria as soon as the EEAA receives some clarity from the government.

“The EEAA Rebuild Strategy will now incorporate a new agreed industry charter regarding the supply chain when the industry returns, specifically developing industry-agreed standards about deposits and supplier cash flow flexibilities and general principles,” Anemogiannis said.

“This is important, as we cannot assume everyone will be financially and resource ready to flick the switch.”