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Australian association's urgent call for a start date for exhibitions and business events

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has made an ‘urgent’ call to both Federal and State Governments to distinguish exhibitions and business events from mass gatherings, in an attempt to expedite a restart date for domestic events in the Australian market.

EEAA Chief Executive, Claudia Sagripanti (pictured), said that it was "vitally important" that both the Federal and State Government understood that the business event industry can operate under a controlled set of ‘bio-safe’ principles and should not be subject to the ‘mass gathering’ restrictions that apply to other large-scale public events such as sporting fixtures, festivals, and other large-scale consumer events.

Sagripanti said: “The business events industry run highly organised events where we can trace every one of our visitors, delegates, speakers and exhibitors as well as monitor, track and put in place a range of measures that can ensure these events comply with government measures on hygiene and physical distancing.

“The business events industry, which includes exhibitions, conferences and business meetings contributes A$35bn (US$22.6bn) to the national economy, with another A$17.2bn in value add and employs over 229,000 people across a range of sectors and trades. The re-opening of this important sector will support the government’s objective to implement work safe guidelines to get Australian’s back to work.”

The EEAA is working in conjunction with the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA), along with other industry associations to develop safety and hygiene principles for the government, health officials and the business events community.

The EEAA is recommending that governments provide a clear timetable on when the business events industry can restart, as the planning cycle for exhibitions and events is of "paramount importance".

Sagripanti continued: “The sector needs support now with a clear timetable on when we can run events – August/September and the last quarter of 2020 is vital to recovery, but the industry needs a confirmed date to commence planning.

“An August restart allows government and the health authorities further time to ensure the state’s Covid-19 numbers continue to decrease and stabilise and to enable an agreed bio-safe environment for our controlled and organised events where the business community comes to do business.

“The EEAA has been in talks with all State Governments and the Chief Medical Officers in each state  to negotiate the restart terms for the exhibitions and business events industry. The Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) has lobbied at the Federal level to ensure a consistent and clear message regarding the distinction between business events and mass gatherings is achieved nationally."

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