The federal government’s $1.2 billion Tourism Support Package, which was announced on 11th March will provide half price airfares for holiday makers but no direct support for Australia’s $35 billion business events industry, once Jobkeeper ends on 28th March.
The $50 million Business Events Grants Program has been expanded by three months, however the scheme is only open to organisations that pay to participate in events. The inconsistent closures of state borders has left businesses cautious and uncertain about interstate travel, resulting in a poor take up of the Program and no significant flow-though to suppliers.
Activist groups Save Victorian Events and Save NSW Events recently conducted surveys and the findings of both indicate that 4 out of ten Victorian & New South Wales based event industry companies may have to close without some additional support when JobKeeper ends.
Simon Thewlis, a co-founder of Save Victoria Events has been in close contact with federal government. “I Just got off the phone to one of the most senior people in Canberra. He confirmed there will be no more federal support for the business event sector, other than the extension to the $50 million Business Events Grants Program.” Said Thewlis.
State Government response
Martin Pakula, Victoria’s minister for Tourism and Major Events was critical of the Federal Government’s support package announcement. In a twitter post he wrote. “Somewhere in the Canberra bubble there seems to be a misunderstanding of how Victorian tourism works, and a failure to understand that capital cities have felt the absence of international visitors, every bit as much as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and the Whitsundays.”
EventOrganisers has contacted the office of the minister to ask what support the Victorian government intends to provide its events sector, which generates $10 billion of annual revenue for the state. If provided, the response will be published.