The Morrison government yesterday announced a $50 million program to support business events on the Gold Coast.
The program has been launched to kickstart the local industry which, pre-Covid, contributed $570 million to the economy and attracted event attendees from all over the world.
Eligible Australian businesses participating in or exhibiting at an approved business event in 2021 can now apply for upfront grants to cover up to 50 per cent of their costs ($10,000 – $250,000).
Member for Moncrieff Angie Bell MP said this will help reinvigorate the Gold Coast’s business events market, and that 22 Gold Coast events have been listed as approved business events for 2021.
“The people who attend business events on the Gold Coast also book hotel rooms, they eat at restaurants, buy coffees, visit shops and stay to enjoy our tourist attractions, so this support is greatly welcome,” she said.
“Every event on the Gold Coast means jobs for caterers, videographers, hospitality workers and opportunities for local businesses. I strongly urge all business event organisers to have their next convention on the beautiful Gold Coast at one of our world-class facilities and to apply to be an approved business event. I also encourage Australian businesses to send their staff to these in person events with the help of the Morrison Government’s $50 million support package.”
Minister for trade, tourism and investment Dan Tehan said Australia’s strong economic and health response to COVID-19 meant the domestic business events market was well-placed to rebound in coming years.
“Australia is a world-leading host and with more than 190 business events already on the program’s approved list, there are plenty of opportunities for Australian businesses and producers to take advantage of the top-class destinations, facilities and professionals in their own backyard,” he said.
“We want a pipeline of business events across Australia in 2021 to build momentum and generate jobs and opportunities in urban and regional centres. This program adds an incentive for businesses to invest in the professional development, networking and travel opportunities available through attending a business event.”
Chair of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) Dr Vanessa Findlay said the grants program initiative created motivation for businesses to get back to in person business events.
“Prior to COVID-19, the value of business events to the Australian economy was significant – and that’s not just the tangible $36 billion contribution to the Australian economy but also the knowledge exchange, innovation and business to business relationships that deliver so much value to the Australian and international community,” Dr Findlay said.
The Hire and Rental Industry Association’s (HRIA) annual industry event will be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre this year and is an approved event under the Government’s Business Events Grants Program.
HRIA CEO James Oxenham said: “Each year, more than 1500 delegates attend the HRIA’s flagship event. This year even more than ever our members are looking forward to connecting, and meeting together in person, not only for the convention and exhibition, but also the networking opportunities and social events that make the convention such a success year after year. With the convention finishing on a Thursday, many also plan a long weekend, which should also be a great boost to the Gold Coast economy.”
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is hosting the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference and Trade Exhibition 2021 (APP2021) event also at the Gold Coast Convention Centre in May this year, and attendees will benefit from the $50 million grants program.
APP Conference Convenor Kos Sclavos AM said: “The $50 million Business Events Grants Program is a great initiative by the Federal Government to encourage more delegates and exhibitors to attend conferences in 2021. Our event is the largest pharmacy trade expo in Australia and the grant funding provides the opportunity for even more businesses in our industry to take part. Without events such as APP, businesses would not have the opportunity to meet with existing and new target audiences in this important, face to face setting.”
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) general manager Adrienne Readings said: “Business events make up on one of the highest yielding sectors in our visitor economy and the Gold Coast is a major contributor, attracting nearly 50 per cent of all conferences, meetings, incentives and exhibitions held in Queensland. Hundreds of thousands of delegates visit the Gold Coast, filling our hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, transport and retail outlets. Business events not only attract economic benefit to the Gold Coast but also leaders of industry and innovation, paving the way for future development.”