Mackay to host major national conference next year

The North Queensland city of Mackay has been selected as the host destination for the National Economic Development Conference in October 2021.

The event will be held at the award-winning Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre (MECC), the largest banqueting and convention facility between Brisbane and Cairns.

The conference is the flagship event of Economic Development Australia (EDA), the national peak body for economic development professionals in Australia.

With over 750 members, the organisation seeks to build capacity, promote excellence and provide leadership on issues of relevance to its members.

The conference is expected to attract 200 to 250 economic development professionals, as well as their partners and families providing the Mackay region with an opportunity to showcase its diverse local industries, as well as economic initiatives.

The two-day annual conference, to be known as NEDC21, has an action-packed program which will be easily accommodated in an appropriately socially-distanced manner by the MECC’s diverse and flexible range of meeting rooms and spaces.

The conference will include a masterclass, local study tours and site visits, an awards gala dinner and a range of networking functions and events.

Andrew Bobeldyk, manager of the MECC and events, said the convention centre was delighted to be hosting the conference and felt the bid win conveyed a strong message about the region and venue’s capacity and capability for business events, as well as providing a positive indicator for 2021 and beyond.

“The conference theme is to be centred around transformation through a circular economy and Mackay provides a perfect example of such a concept,” he said.

“Acknowledged as a thriving regional centre, its economic diversity is represented by a strong resources sector, agribusiness, construction, logistics, education and tourism.

“The type and calibre of conferences which we continue to attract to the MECC reflect those specialisations and give us an edge in the highly competitive business events marketplace.”

NEDC21 organisers have indicated the conference will proceed irrespective of COVID restrictions that might potentially apply in late 2021, with scope for it to also be held as a hybrid or online event should it be deemed necessary.

It is, however, hoped that NEDC21 will be conducted as an in-person conference, enabling delegates to gather together and enjoy the many attractions of the Mackay region.