August 17, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) has moved its 2021 national gathering, Evolve, to 2022, as uncertainty around domestic borders and lockdowns across the country continues to bite, less than a month out from the twice-rescheduled event date.

“In the interests of all stakeholders, MEA believes the best option is to reschedule Evolve to a time when immunised population target levels are expected,” said MEA CEO Peter McDonald.

“By doing so, we are reinforcing the significance of meeting in-person.

“Evolve’s live hub will provide for richer in-person connections and optimal conference experience for our members, delegates, sponsors and exhibitors, speakers and the greater Australian events sector.”

McDonald said the association also intends to honour Melbourne as the event destination planned for this year in 2022.

“MEA has made every possible effort to bring that to fruition in 2021. However current government pandemic management restrictions right across our country, and the potential for their extension, make the risk of staging the event on 8 September too high.”

Registrations for the 2021 conference will be transferred to 2022 and with delegates also advised of refund options.

On September 8, MEA will coordinate a webinar with Professor Catherine Bennett, Chair of Epidemiology, Deakin University to answer questions about the pandemic and the vaccine rollout. Bennett’s session was planned as part of the postponed conference.

MEA’s national awards will take place as a live streamed event for a second consecutive year, on September 22.

“The MEA Board believes it is important to keep a positive focus wherever possible,” said Board Chair Nigel Collin.

“The 2020 MEA National Awards is an opportunity where we can do that. We look forward to celebrating the success of all finalists and winners and recognising outstanding performance despite the adversity the world faced last year.”