AUD$50m Business Events Grants Programme extended by Australian government

The Australian exhibition industry has broadly welcomed the national government’s new package to support the Tourism sector “still doing it tough” in the wake of Covid-19.

In a statement released on 11 March, the prime minister Scott Morrison said the AUD$50m (US$38.9m) Business Events Grants Programme would be extended by three months to support Australian businesses to hold multi-day business events, covering up to 50% of costs incurred in participating business events during the 2021 calendar year. “This,” the prime minister said, “will help restart Australia’s business events sector.”

Australia’s airlines, hotels and caravan parks, restaurants and bars, travel agents and tourism operators are hoping for a rush of hundreds of thousands of tourists as part of a new, wider AUD$1.2bn support package from the Morrison government.

The prime minister said that while Australia’s economy had recovered 85% of its fall from Covid-19, the next step in the government’s National Economic Recovery Plan would target the businesses, workers and regions still “doing it tough”.

The prime minister said the package’s mix of half-price airline tickets, cheap loans for businesses and direct support to keep planes in the air, and airline workers in their jobs, would be a bridge to a more normal way of life for Australians.

“This is our ticket to recovery - 800,000 half-price airfares to get Australians travelling and supporting tourism operators, businesses, travel agents and airlines who continue to do it tough through Covid-19, while our international borders remain closed,” the prime minister added.

“Our tourism businesses don’t want to rely on government support forever. They want their tourists back. This package, combined with our vaccine roll-out which is gathering pace, is part of our National Economic Recovery Plan and the bridge that will help get them back to normal trading,” the statement continued. The Morrison government will expand and extend its ‘SME Loan Guarantee Scheme’ as part of its commitment to support up to AUD$40bn in lending to small and medium enterprises.

There have been some positive signs recently in the national events industry with  Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre welcoming back visitors and exhibitors to the Pregnancy, Babies & Children’s Expo, and the Exhibitions & Events Australia (EEA)’s Brisbane Home Show in February.

A number of exhibitions, conferences and events are taking place in other states, including Sydney Showground hosting the Oz Comic Con Pop-up recently and IQPC set to push ahead with Australian Healthcare Week, which will be the first major conference and exhibition at ICC Sydney this year.

The positive momentum continues in WA with the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre with Diversified’s Australia Australian Oil & Gas Exhibition now underway.