March 31 2021

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has issued a firm rebuke to the Federal Government for providing inadequate support to the business events industry following the end of JobKeeper last Sunday.

In a media statement the Council said the current government had failed the business events industry and flagged the “poor design” of the Federal Government’s $50 million Business Events Grants Program, revealing that just $8 million of the available funds is currently slated for distribution to grant recipients, despite the program operating for over six months. There are currently 350 approved events for which businesses are eligible to receive funding to attend.

“The Business Events Grant Program is simply not sufficient nor effective enough to bring the support desperately needed,” said BECA Chair Dr Vanessa Findlay.

“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.”

BECA also released results of their latest industry survey, which indicated that the industry’s reliance on JobKeeper dropped just two percent between September 2020 and March 2021, with 87 percent of industry businesses accessing it to September last year and 85 percent still accessing it between January and March this year.

Their Government Support and Future Confidence Report 2021 also showed that without additional Government support following the end of JobKeeper, 47 percent of businesses will make more staff redundant and 23 percent of businesses expect to close.

Over 60 percent of businesses saw a reduction in turnover of between 75 and 100 percent for 2020 compared to the previous year and 44 percent are expecting a similar reduction in turnover for the first half of the 2021 calendar year.

Half of the industry representatives surveyed are expecting it will take three to five years before their businesses return to pre-pandemic levels.

“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,” said Findlay.

“To do that we need additional targeted Government support.

“BECA will continue its engagement with Government towards achieving these critical outcomes.”