Commonwealth has “turned its back on business events” says BECA

Geoff Donaghy BECA Deputy Chair "When restrictions lift, business events cannot simply switch on like other industries"

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has always been a strong advocate of diplomatic communication with government, but is seems even BECA has lost patience with the government’s blindness to the plight of what was a $36billion dollar industry that employed over a quarter of a million people before the pandemic hit.

In a press release using unusually direct language, BECA has accused the the federal government of “turning its back on business events”, following the decision last week to withdraw COVID-19 Disaster Payments once each state and territory achieves their vaccination target.

“When restrictions lift, business events cannot simply switch on like other industries. Significant lead time is required to book, plan, and deliver business events, which is why targeted and sustained support for our sector is required into 2022.” Said Geoff Donaghy BECA’s Deputy Chair

“It will take 6 to 12 months at least for business events to fully gear up, confirm program content, source sponsors and exhibitors, and market the event to attract delegate registrations.” He said.

The plainly worded press release also pointed to the drain of talent from the industry, which will affect the ability of operators and venues to deliver events post pandemic. “The COVID-19 Disaster Payments have supported the welfare of our workforce during recent lockdowns, but given the uncertainty our sector still faces, we continue to see the leakage of specialist skills to other sectors offering greater stability.” Said the statement.

Simon Thewlis of Save Victorian Events welcomed BECA’s statement. “We need federal government to continue disaster payments and business support, but the heavy-lifting has to come from the states.” He said.

The primary audience for the statement is Federal Government. With support being removed from the broader economy, it backs BECA’s calls for the need of ongoing targeted support for industries such as BE that cannot snap back.

BECA has also written to each state/territory treasurer and tourism minister with consistent messaging.