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Australia: organisers to claim 50% of costs in new AUD50 grant scheme

Organisers of association meetings in Australia will be able to claim up to 50 per cent of their costs as part of an AUD50 million initiative to restart the heavily hit events industry.

Payouts between AUD10,000 and AD250,000 will be made upfront to approved business events as part of the Australian Business Events Grants Programme, announced by the government.

The funding was in response to Business Events Council of Australia’s (BECA) Recovery and Rebound Framework presented to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 last month.

The impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on business events has cost Australia’s visitor economy a staggering AUD35.7 billion, according to an Ernst & Young research in March 2020.

BECA will now lead the industry’s work with the government on implementing the grants programme with the aim of getting money flowing through the supply chain as quickly as possible.

“Australia’s business events industry is deeply appreciative of the federal government’s support through this grants programme. BECA’s goal is to not only support the business events industry itself, but to also maximise the contribution business events make to the recovery of the wider economy. This support package will be pivotal to that,” said Dr Vanessa Findlay, Chair of BECA.

While Australia’s state and territory borders remain closed, the recovery of the business events industry is seriously impeded. BECA has called for clear guidelines that provide predictability and transparency in the way the borders are being managed so businesses can plan and book their next business event with confidence.

The funding is part of the Government’s $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund which supports sectors severely impacted by the pandemic.

Kate Smith, Chair of Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) said, “This is much needed support for our industry and recognises the contribution business events can make to the recovery of our economy. Our membership represents the entire supply chain of specialists needed to create and deliver outstanding business events – large, medium and small enterprises as well as sole operators and freelancers. All have been significantly impacted by COVID and this support is a positive step towards our recovery.”