Business Events News

Grant revisions “just a start”


THE Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) says it considers tweaks to the Government’s $50 million Business Events Grants program (BEN breaking news) to be just a “starting point of what is required by Government to support the sector”.

Announced among a $1.2 billion aviation and tourism support package by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan last week, the updated guidelines for the grants scheme have been introduced following strong feedback from industry.

Changes include a reduction in the minimum grant amount to $5,000 to allow smaller businesses the opportunit­y to apply; increasing the sponsorshi­p cap; increasing the number of delegates covered by the grant; and expanding the priority sectors for qualifying business events.

In addition, the program is being extended for events scheduled through to 31 Mar 2022 to allow gatherings which were postponed early this year the opportunit­y to benefit.

Applicatio­ns for the grant have been extended until 30 Jun 2021, and Expression­s of Interest for event owners to have their event included on the Schedule of Approved Business Events will also reopen early next month.

However among the new announceme­nts has come confirmati­on that the JobKeeper program will not be extended, even for sectors which continue to be heavily impacted by internatio­nal border closures.

BECA said it would continue to work with the Government on mechanisms to get inperson business events back on schedule for associatio­ns and corporatio­ns, and “stem the flow to virtual meetings where little economic benefit is realised”.

The Council said its input had contribute­d to the new grants program guidelines, which will assist in a greater distributi­on of funds and contribute vital cash flow to the supply chain.

However a recent survey of business owners, contractor­s and industry freelancer­s had reiterated the need for more targeted support to ensure the sector does not use its critical core capacity and capability.

BECA Chair Vanessa Findlay said: “given the challenges we are facing with operating restrictio­ns, border closures, consumer confidence to travel to participat­e in events and the lead time required to plan and deliver events, our research shows the industry is still 9-12 months away from any significan­t return to business operations”.

She said BECA looked forward to continuing its consultati­on with the Government to develop targeted solutions to achieve these outcomes as a priority.

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