August 2, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) has called on the events industry to do all it can to help the industry get back on its feet by getting behind the lockdowns and by continuing to show compliance leadership.

The association’s new CEO, Peter McDonald, said he was aware of the difficulties the lockdowns caused for the events industry and the wider community, but it was important that everyone helped tackle the spread of COVID by adhering to the restrictions.

He said that if everyone does the right thing, the virus spread can be stopped and the industry can revive. Lockdowns were a double-edged sword, he said.

“We understand how serious the opportunity cost is, but the wider community’s compliance with government lockdown policy, and eligible people becoming vaccinated when supplies permit, offers the best prospects for getting events running again,” said McDonald.

He was calling on the meetings and events industry to “lead by example”, and to also encourage those around us to behave responsibly by respecting the lockdown orders.

“If people act with a greater interest as opposed to self-interest, society wins. A byproduct of that will be momentum for our sector.

“The greater the level of lockdown adherence, the sooner our wonderful industry can benefit and get back to work,” he added.

He said the industry had done a great job running safe events and adhering to safety protocols when restrictions were not in place. He saw the lockdown period as another opportunity for the events industry to demonstrate its leadership and commitment to society.

McDonald encouraged MEA members to get in touch if they wished to talk through their issues or needed a sounding board during these difficult times. He said the mental health impacts of the past 18 months were real and needed attention.

“We are here for our members and remain accessible – we are a friend in the sector so if anyone wants to have a bit of a chat, I encourage them to call us.”

MEA continues to support the work of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) on national advocacy. It is also continuing to operate as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and at present it has about 20 students enrolled in its Diploma of Event Management. Its commitment to the sector remains as it works towards delivering its annual conference Evolve on September 8 in Melbourne.