Last year ASE reported on the previous government’s Business Event Grants program, and the fact that there seems to be no accountability regarding how the grants were used, or more importantly if unused grants were returned.
In the end the Business Events sector was the loser, as Arts and Sport seemed to dominate the support packages and events were, and remain, the forgotten sector.
As reported in ASE, Senator Don Farrell was one who called out (in senate estimates) how the funds were allocated and how a third of all grants (dollar value) went to just five expos.
Senator Farrell is now Minister for Trade and Tourism so the ball is now in his court. Will he step up and make the program accountable? Will he address the issue of who designed the program (we suspect it was the PMO).
Interesting to see that the former Trade and Tourism minister Dan Tehan has been demoted to Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.
I wonder how many of the associations have joined the dots and made contacted the new minister about this? Have they asked how the scheme will be administered going forward, and will companies who were paid the monies be held accountable to use the funds to participate in business events or does this all just get left and there are winners and losers?
I have taken the liberty to write to the new minister as an interested business owner who would like to see this followed through and hopefully see the unused funds form a national Business Events campaign bringing businesses and consumers together as this has a real stimulation to the economy.
I haven’t at this time received a response back from the minister, which is understandable as he would be being briefed on numerous aspects but I know if we don’t ask we don’t get. So just asking the question as we have nothing to lose, something I hope is not lost on those groups who were quick to line up for credit when good things happen!
This should have provided those associations and groups who lined up to take credit a prompt to follow through as millions of dollars lay unused. I haven’t read one thing that shows any have stepped up, so the question is what will the industry do now?