Remember in May this year when Ford Australia management announced it would be closing its Broadmeadow and Geelong manufacturing plants in October 2016 with the loss of around 1200 jobs? It was front page news around the country. People were up in arms. Workers were angry and upset. Talkback radio was full of debate.

Fast forward a few months to now and the Sydney business event community is preparing for its own job losses with the imminent closure of the convention centre.
I know that people will say the closure of the Ford plant and the SCEC is different for a range of reasons. The first is obviously that the centre will return bigger and better in three years’ time and will probably require more staff than the current facility needs. The second is that a large proportion of the centre’s staff are casual or part-timers.

Be that as it may it amazes me how I’ve never seen, heard or read anything about job losses at the centre in any of our local or national newspapers or indeed on radio or television. All I’ve seen is artist’s impressions of the new facility. And very nice ones too.

I also haven’t heard anything from our various industry association bodies. Or maybe there has been something and I’ve simply missed it.
Down at the centre a few weeks ago I had a chat to a waitress who was serving tables and watching with young eyed amazement at the entertainment that was going on. I asked her what she was going to do when the centre closed to which she replied she wasn’t sure. She was a student enrolled in an event management course and was hoping to move into a full time position when she completed her studies. She had her feelers out looking for something else but hadn’t had any luck as yet.

I remember years ago when I finished school and I was at university I worked as a waiter at the Hilton Sydney and later at The Summit restaurant, now O Bar & Dining (see our interview with owner and chef Michael Moore on page 109). Both were great jobs where I learnt a lot and earned enough money to keep me off unemployment or student benefits.

I wonder what the young girl I met and the countless others will do when the centre closes at the end of this year? Will she find another job or be heading to Centrelink?

I wonder why our mainstream media don’t treat the closure of a major employer in the hospitality sector as important as the car industry?

I welcome your feedback.



Gary Bender World Conference & Incentive Management • Ian Walsh G1 Productions • Linda Gaunt MEA • Annabel Norris Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre • Sharon Goldie MLC David Grant DG3 • Bryan Holliday ICMS Australasia Pty Ltd • Ruth Lilian L&R Contract Business Services • Ros McLeod arinex • Valerie Percival IBM Australia Limited • Elizabeth Rich Agenda Pty Ltd • Jeremy Garling Fourth Wall Events

National Advisory Board

Elizabeth Bindon-Bonney BT Create • Anna Guillan Hayman & Mulpha Hotels Australia • Suzanne Hart SHE • Peter Kinnane MCI •
David Hall David Hall & Associates • Sarah Markey-Hamm ICMS •
Sarah Seddon Atlantic Group (V) • Anna Stewart Queensland Conventions & Incentives