Australia’s EEAA calls for immediate extension of Business Events Grants Programme

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA), has called on the government to extend the money available under the Business Events Grants Programme to the industry immediately.

EEAA added that it supported the Business Events Council of Australia’s (BECA’s) pre-budget submission which called for targeted support to add the rebuild of the Business Events industry.

Claudia Sagripanti (pictured), EEAA chief executive said her members needed the AUSTRADE Business Events Grants Programme to urgently re-open for new applications.

“In September 2020, AUSTRADE opened applications for exhibitors and potential exhibitors, with AUD$50m available for assistance. The EEAA is aware of many exhibitors across a range of exhibition types and locations applying for and being approved, and welcomed the speed with which AUSTRADE acted to process applications,” she said.

The fund was closed temporarily at the end of March 2021, however, and EEAA says it is not clear whether there are funds left over from the original $50m available to assist the industry.

“If there is money left after currently approved applications, EEAA calls for applications to urgently re-open to distribute any remaining money.

"The events sector was one of the first to be impacted by the Federal government’s changes to mass gathering rules in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is one of the last to be reactivated. Many businesses, which are privately owned SMEs, lost over 90% of their income, and have had no alternative ways of generating revenue due to these restrictions,” said Ms Sagripanti.

Research by BECA in late October 2020, showed the pandemic’s effects continued, with 62% of event owners and planners cancelling or postponing events in Q1 2021. For the period January – June 2021, 57% said they had cancelled or postponed events.