By Brad Foster

The $30B Australian business events industry is as one individual bluntly put it yesterday to us “on the brink of collapse”.

Requests to the Federal Government by the National Rugby League over the weekend for an immediate $200m cash injection is quite simply ludicrously self-serving considering there are so many other sectors – and people – that will need help over the coming months, and none more so than those working in the greater event sector.

micenet journalists and staff have been on the phones, email and web over the past two weeks following the latest developments, talking to business event practitioners, and listening to possible scenarios.

One freelance event producer we spoke to yesterday has had $80,000 worth of business cancel or postpone indefinitely. This is just one person!

What we have been buoyed by is that while many are already struggling there remains a level of optimism among the sector. Airlines and hoteliers – two of the hardest hit – are trying, where possible, to work around cancellations.

Large PCO companies, AV companies and other suppliers are locked in meetings in attempts to retain staff as long as they can.

This is a crisis that Australia has never seen before and one that will affect every industry, as it already is.

A recession is now expected. Australia’s last recession was 1990.

People are running scared about travelling, including those who work in our sector.

People are scared to gather in groups, although this is exactly what the majority of us do when we travel to work on public transport.

This is a crisis.

There is nothing that we can do about it right now except support others where we can. If groups want to meet in smaller numbers they have to be encouraged. If video-conferencing is an option then it has to be done.

As Australia’s leading business event industry magazine, micenet is not immune to what is occurring.

We are being challenged too.

Right now what we can offer is the following:

1. From today, we will be publishing a daily e-newsletter, bringing together all the bits and pieces of news about our sector into one simple-to-read format in the one place. The good and bad news. Straight to your inbox.

2. Encouragement that this crisis will pass. We will continue to print our magazine every two months to help the industry promote their products and offerings, and maintain our expert industry columns. New hotels are opening, new products are being created, and new ideas about effective meetings and events remain.