The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) is supporting the call for the industry and broader community to get vaccinated as quickly as they are able, to support the first stage of the Government’s 4-step national plan and #GiveBEaShot.
On Friday, 30 July, National Cabinet agreed in principle to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response, providing a pathway forward for the country. Each phase of the plan is triggered by vaccination thresholds and aims to remove restrictions, end lockdowns and domestic border closures, and recommence international travel—all of which are necessary for the business events industry to recover and prosper into the future.
However, the business events industry cannot be placed on hold until these targets are met. Lives and livelihoods of those reliant on income from business events are at risk. If future uncertainty remains due to public health order restrictions, governments must continue to support all businesses impacted.
The $36 billion contribution that business events bring to the nation and the 230,000 employees it supports is well recognised. However, it is also vital for this industry to be operational for its role in Australia’s economic recovery as a driver of knowledge transfer, innovation, productivity and trade and investment relationships.
Geoff Donaghy, BECA Deputy Chair stated, “Prior to the recent lockdowns, our industry was clearly demonstrating how business events could be held safely, effectively and in compliance with state-based health protocols across the country. The nature of these highly organised and structured events, delegate behaviours, controlled settings, and the contact tracing frameworks we have in place sets us apart from mass gatherings.”
“Through BECA’s industry-wide network, we continue to work with our state and federal leaders to lobby for the support needed to build confidence; however, to further enhance our government engagement activities, we have formalised our relationship with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry through membership, over and above our active role on the Tourism Restart Taskforce.”
BECA’s Recovery and Rebound Framework details a range of initiatives for consideration that includes direct and targeted support for the business events industry. As part of this framework, BECA has been advocating for risk mitigating policies and investments.
BECA’s suggested Business Events Catalyst Fund outlines options of a rebate, incentive grant payment, non-refundable underwriting facility, or nation-wide event insurance scheme—designed to support Australian associations and corporations moving forward with their in-person business events and build confidence in an uncertain environment.
However, BECA recommends that support for business events take a national approach as the industry does not take account of domestic borders, mostly reliant on interstate services, labour, equipment, and participants.
The impact of recent lockdowns has further evidenced this. With significant numbers of delegates and exhibitors not able to freely travel within Australia, the commercial viability of many in-person business events is at risk even if the host destination allows the event to take place. Likewise, organisers running events in other states don’t receive access to any state-based business support if restrictions prevent that event from proceeding.