Members of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA), launched a pre-election campaign at Parliament House in Canberra last week calling on Members of Parliament to unequivocally support policy and funding of the sector.
A delegation of business events industry leaders met with 12 key MPs and their advisors, from all sides of politics, with a united message about the need for a strong policy for business events and additional funding through Tourism Australia.
BECA has called on the Coalition, Labor and other parties to launch a policy for business events ahead of the May Federal election covering six key areas.
Chairman of BECA, Matt Hingerty, said the mission to Canberra was a vital step in getting the business events sector’s power, scope and potential understood by our Parliamentarians and embedded in policy.
“The industry delivered a strong and united message about the importance of the business events sector as a key driver of the Australian economy,” Mr. Hingerty said.
“Our delegation was well received as we delivered clear evidence to substantiate the merits of backing business events in order to deliver real benefits to cities as well as regional Australia.”
The BECA delegation comprising representatives of all its Member Associations advocated for government support to help reap the opportunities that the business events sector can offer Australia, including generating jobs for life, international trade and soft diplomacy, investment and both regional and national economic development.
BECA called for a policy which would include the following six strategies:
1. Extension of the successful Bid Fund Program (BFP), and partnership programs managed by Business Events Australia. BECA calls for increased BEA funding of $10M or $40M within four years.
2. Funding for research; managed by the business events community and Tourism Research Australia in order to benchmark the industry, and quantify the sector’s size, impact and worth.
3. A national infrastructure mapping study to identify the gaps and priorities for business events infrastructure in metro and regional areas.
4. Support to work more closely with VET and higher education sector (namely TAFE) to design courses that match the industry’s needs now, and in the future.
5. Temporary skilled labour visa reform to enable the industry to more easily respond to fluctuating demands with a more flexible temporary visa system.
6. Growth Industries Business Events Team to link our outcomes with those associated with the Industry Growth Centre Initiatives.
“While business events stimulate the visitor economy, their impact is more far-reaching than just tourism.”
The business events sector stands on its own two feet as a major contributor to Australia’s GDP and provides significant commercial opportunities, jobs and contribution to our reputation as a progressive, innovative and successful nation with which to do business.
BECA’s mission to Canberra was designed to carry a strong message that the business events sector must be supported in order to leverage the huge opportunities we can uniquely deliver for our economy and community.
“Whilst Australia had a strong reputation hosting business events, our international competitiveness is being compromised by markets in Asia, and we need to act now to curb the impact,” said Mr. Hingerty.
BECA visited the offices of the Hon. Mark Coulton MP, the Hon. Josh Wilson MP, the Hon. Craig Laundy MP, the Hon. Trent Zimmerman MP, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Senator the Hon. Tim Storer, Senator the Hon. Pauline Hanson, the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Senator the Hon. Murray Watt, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP.
BECA members who attended the government meetings with Matt Hingerty included: Joyce DiMascio, CEO of Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA); Robyn Johnson, CEO, Meetings & Events Australia (MEA); Barry Neame for Professional Conference Organisers of Australia (PCOA); Andrew Heibl, CEO, Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB); and Karen Bolinger for International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
For information on BECA click here