This week, representatives of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) including Deputy Chair Geoff Donaghy (ICC Sydney), Kate Smith (Waldron Smith Management), Matt Pearce (Talk2 Media & Events) and Andrew Hiebl (Association of Australian Convention Bureaux), met online with Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Shadow Minister for Sport and Tourism, and the Hon Tony Burke MP, Shadow Minister for the Arts.
The conversation focused on BECA’s three key priorities of business survival and retention of specialist industry skills, risk mitigation and confidence, and recovery needs to stimulate demand.
Mr Donaghy stated, “Given the significant lead time required for the national restart of the business events industry, many parts of our critical supply chain will be faced with the challenge of surviving without functional revenue, noting that any deposits received for future activity must be securely held until services are delivered. These businesses will continue to run at a loss for another six months or more.”
BECA has also formally submitted a response to the Live Performance Federal Insurance Guarantee Fund Bill 2021 before the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee – backing in its position that the lack of COVID-19 pandemic related event insurance is a handbrake on confidence and will slow the recovery of the business events industry in 2022.
“BECA identified risk mitigation as a key challenge for governments to resolve more than twelve months ago and we continue to see this as a priority for recovery. A national Commonwealth Government led event insurance scheme, achieved in partnership with state and territory governments, remains our preferred model,” said Donaghy.
“We thank Shadow Ministers Farrell and Burke for taking the time to hear our concerns and give consideration to the urgent support required.”
BECA, as an apolitical organisation, continues to advocate on behalf of the business events industry, bringing forward evidence of COVID-19 impacts and policy solutions to the Government, Opposition and crossbench.
Senator Farrell said of the meeting “Business events make a hugely important contribution to Australia’s visitor economy, sustaining thousands of businesses and even more jobs. As such, I really appreciated the opportunity to meet with members of the Business Events Council of Australia earlier this week.
There can be no doubt that the business events sector has suffered significantly as a result of the pandemic. In addition, like many other industries, it’s clear that the business events sector can’t just snap back as soon as borders open.
I look forward to continuing to work with BECA to ensure this once thriving industry recovers as soon as possible.”
Tony Burke pointed to the discrepancy between support for live events and the film industry, “The live music and events industry needs an interruption insurance scheme to get back on its feet and plan for its future.
The federal government has been willing to provide such a scheme for the screen sector but not for the arts or live events industry – and they’ve given no reason why.
Labor and the sector have been lobbying for this for more than a year – it’s time for the federal government to listen and act.”