MICE industry rallies behind Australian bushfire victims

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

While the devastating figures and stories of struggle from victims of Australia’s bushfire crisis continue to emerge, the MICE industry has rallied behind them.

On 4 January, the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre (MCEC) provided transition assistance to more than 200 people and 15 dogs evacuated from Mallacoota in East Gippsland, a spokeswoman confirmed to The Nibbler.

“Like all Australians, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has a desire to help in any way possible,” chief executive Peter King said.

“Our thoughts go out to those who have been affected by these catastrophic events.”

Two people in Victoria have been confirmed killed as a result of the fires gripping the state, Premier Daniel Andrews told the media on Monday.

A third death, of a state government employee returning to Melbourne from the fire grounds, has not yet been added to the list of fire-related fatalities, The Age reported, taking the death toll from bushfires this season across the country to 25.

In New South Wales, police have confirmed 20 people have been killed as a result of bushfires across the state. A further two people have lost their lives on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, where the renowned Southern Ocean Lodge was significantly damaged.

In addition, six million hectares of land are estimated to have been lost so far across Australia.

As many as 480 million animals have been killed in NSW bushfires alone since September, according to Professor Chris Dickman of The University of Sydney. The true mortality rate, he says, is likely to be “substantially higher”.

MICE industry pledges support for those affected by bushfire crisis

Multiple venues, event organisers and hotels across the country have pledged to offer their support during these trying times. Here are just a few who have pledged to fundraise for bushfire relief:

TEG Dainty and TEG Live

TEG Dainty and TEG Live have announced that a line-up of major international and local artists will perform at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Sunday 16 February 2020 to raise money for Australian bushfire relief.

More details on the national ‘FIRE FIGHT AUSTRALIA’ benefit concert will be released in the coming weeks, with a full line-up of artists and partners set to be announced.

Bells at Killcare

Bells at Killcare has committed to donate all profits from any new accommodation bookings for stays in January to Walkabout Wildlife Park in the Calga, NSW.

Lancemore Hotels

Lancemore Hotel is pledging 15 per cent from every booking made using the code ‘relief’ during January to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.

For those evacuating bushfires in Victoria, Lancemore has also advised that its Macedon Ranges property can accommodate horses, cattle and sheep.

If you require any further information from Lancemore Hotels, call 0401 280 892 for details.

Made in the Shade

In Victoria, Made in the Shade is set to host a fundraising event at its The Everleigh bar, ‘The Bar Bushfire Shake-Up’, next week. All proceeds from the night will be donated to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.

To learn more about the event, click here.

Impact on the MICE industry

On Tuesday, A Day On The Green was forced to cancel Cold Chisel’s large outdoor concert in Rutherglen, west of Albury Windonga, as a result of hazardous air quality.

Pictures from on-site, released on Facebook, show how poor the air quality is, alongside an apology from the event.

More than 2,500 buildings have been destroyed across the country, including numerous tourist attractions and accommodations. Notably, Baillie Lodges has confirmed that Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island has “sustained significant damage” and all guests have been evacuated.

“Southern Ocean Lodge is now closed. It is currently too early to accurately estimate a reopening date. The Southern Ocean Lodge team will embark on contacting guests as well as travel industry partners over the coming days to make alternative arrangements for upcoming reservations,” Baillie Lodges said in a statement.

Co-creators of Southern Ocean Lodge, James and Hayley Baillie, said initial plans are already underway to rebuild the luxury property.

Bushfire warnings have been issued for the entire 440,500-hectare island, with 150,000 hectares already burned including the island’s Visitor Information Centre, Western Kl Caravan Park, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat.