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Australia welcomes commencement of business events grant programme

BECA urges business event owners to submit EOIs by 30 November to ensure their events can be considered.

The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has welcomed the commencement of the government’s AUD50 million (USD36.6 million) Business Events Grants Program, which was announced by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and portfolio ministers in September 2020.

As a first phase, Austrade has opened an EOI process to business event owners to establish a Schedule of Approved Business Events. BECA has urged business event owners across Australia to submit EOIs by 30 November to ensure that their events can be considered for the schedule when phase two of the grants programme opens in mid-December.

Owners of approved business events may be eligible for grants under the Australian Business Events Grants Program, and Australian businesses wishing to attend will be able to apply for funding to cover up to 50 per cent of eligible costs (between $10,000 and $250,000).

“The industry looks forward to working with the government on the finalisation of grant guidelines and subsequent launch and allocation of grants across the business events industry,” said Dr Vanessa Findlay, Chair of BECA.

This initiative is part of the Morrison-McCormack Government’s $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, which supports sectors severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia’s AUD36 billion business events industry was one of the first and hardest hit industries by COVID-19 and may be one of the last to recover, due to the long lead times between booking and holding a major business event. The industry virtually ground to a halt in 2020 with most business events scheduled cancelled or postponed.

In welcoming the programme’s commencement, BECA noted the government’s focus on the importance of the industry and the jobs that it supports. In September, Minister Birmingham said, “Our business events sector is doing it incredibly tough at present and getting events put back into the calendar will help this key part of our tourism industry, which supports around 230,000 jobs, turn the corner.”

Prime Minister Morrison stated, ‘’Getting business events up and running again will be a critical part of the recovery of our tourism industry but will also have huge flow-on effects through the entire economy.”

“The industry has its fingers crossed that the design of the grants programme will provide the necessary financial boost and confidence to business event owners to book and hold their business event during 2021,” added Dr Findlay.

Featured image of Brisbane by Michael on Unsplash