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Save Victorian Events founder slams Victorian Government’s lack of support for business event sector

Save Victorian Events founder slams Victorian Government’s lack of support for business event sector
May 21, 2021

Founder of the Save Victorian Events campaign, Simon Thewlis, has today highlighted the disparities in the Victorian Government’s 2021/2022 budget.

Writing on the Australasian Special Events site today, Thewlis states “the Victorian government over the next year will give $10.2 million to Melbourne Convention Bureau (a division of the government owned Visit Victoria) in on-going funding and support.  The only government support at all for Victoria’s $12 billion business event sector. By comparison, the government is giving $11.2 million to Victorian attraction - Puffing Billy Railway - to fund their on-going operation.

“In a normal year in Victoria there are over 100,000 business events with a direct spend of more than $12 billion.

“The Event industry is more than one third of Victoria’s ‘visit economy’ and account for half of the $19.5 billion lost from the ‘visitor economy’ over the last year.

“While events are starting again only about 10% of normal events are now happening.  So the losses have been staggering.”

Thewlis continued “we have lost over three quarters of our industry’s technical talent. With similar losses of talent right across the industry. The job losses – especially after the end of JobKeeper – have been massive. 

“Some of the funds to MCB will go to support some business events.  But only larger multi-day national conferences are eligible – so less than 5% of business events. These are events with long lead time – six months plus – so a very long time before the dollars will trickle down to the hardest hit businesses.

“We have been pushing for direct support for businesses so that they can survive the next six months. So businesses can afford to keep on key staff or put them back on so they can gear up again and be able to cope with events when they finally do start happening again.

“We have also been pushing for government backed COVID cancelation insurance as the main reason why so many events are not happening is because people can’t deal with the huge financial risk of their event being cancelled at the last minute due to a lockdown. There is no commercial insurance available now.

“We understand that Minister Pakula has put out a statement saying that over 8,600 event industry businesses have received $71 million in state government support – through the Business Support Fund, etc….

“This is just not true. The government actually doesn’t know how much of the Business Support Fund or other support went to event industry businesses. It uses ANZSIC codes on the funding applications.  But the ANZSIC codes that event industry businesses come under are common to the arts, the entertainment industry, the tourism sector, sport, and many other areas.  So their numbers “refer to businesses from all those sectors and industries.

“But when you do the maths on their numbers, they are saying that on average each business received just $8,000. The very hardest hit industry most of which was closed for a year – and many have still not done one live event, and just $8k in support on average.

“There has still been no targeted support to businesses in Victoria’s event industry. If the Victorian government provided the same support to event industry businesses that Tasmania did, we would be in a very different place.

“We want Victoria to again be Australia’s premier event state. But this can’t happen without the people and businesses that actually build and operate the events. It is time for the Victorian government to support these people.”

Related Articles

21st May 2021 - Melbourne Convention Bureau welcomes Victorian Government long-term investment

2nd April 2021 - Save Victorian Events highlight Bluesfest cancellation as confirmation of need for Governments to back event cancellation insurance

30th March 2021 - Save Victorian Events calls for Industry Taskforce

18th May 2021 - WTTC Global Summit highlights how major live corporate events and conferences can be staged safely

12th May 2021 - Grants now available to offset Melbourne business events

6th May 2021 - Refurbished Cairns Convention Centre to reopen with impressive events calendar

30th April 2021 - New wave of global innovation supports Victoria’s sports and major events

27th April 2021 - Grants offered to support Wollongong’s live music and community events

21st April 2021 - Victorian Government releases $633 million ‘roadmap’ funding to boost tourism and major events

19th April 2021 - Business Events Council of Australia welcomes Tourism Australia’s continued support

14th April 2021 - Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into tourism and events support hears plea to save ‘industry in crisis’

12th April 2021 - Melbourne and Olympic Parks looks to stage increasing number of events

12th April 2021 - Melbourne Convention Bureau announces available funding to offset business events costs

30th March 2021 - Federal Government accused of ‘abandoning’ events industry as JobKeeper ends

23rd March 2021 - Business Events Australia launches industry toolkit to support event recovery


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