By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 16 September, 2020

As states such as Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia restart business events, the spotlight is now well and truly on New South Wales and Victoria to follow suit. The recent drop in COVID numbers should present State governments with the reasoning to the lift border restrictions to significantly raise the capacity limit on gatherings.

This week’s announcement of the new Australian Business Events Grants Program follows intense and constant lobbying and advocacy by associations including the EEAA, who have worked closely with the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) and other associations to achieve this outcome.

Whilst the $50 million Federal Government funding is a positive step in the right (restart) direction, State borders need to re-open asap to allow national events to be scheduled with confidence along with the easing of event space restrictions.

Even with all of the above, it is still not enough. Only when the workforce in the corporate world starts to return to their office in greater numbers will our clients and customers be confident enough to attend our events. I returned to my office in the Sydney CBD on the 1st July when the city was probably at 10%-15% of usual activity and increasing 5% each week. The Melbourne flare-up caused the numbers to grind to a halt. In the last two weeks however, it feels close to 40%, interestingly, Sydney public transport usage at the moment is 45%.

I think we need to get to 60% plus which is achievable for Sydney this coming quarter, but is obviously a while off for Melbourne.

Where it is safe and possible, I encourage you all to return to working from your office. It’s important that we demonstrate that we can work together in-person under the new COVID rules and that we are putting into practice all the safety protocols we plan to bring to our events.

Last week saw our first in a series of three EEAA webinars on Venue readiness and new safety policies and practices. Next week is the second in the series – we’ll hear from the Suppliers on the 24th September and the third session will feature Organisers and Association Organisers on 1st October.

Our Chief Executive, Claudia Sagripanti has been working tirelessly lobbying all governments and officials since she commenced her role and the results are starting to come in. Claudia will detail the new $50 million Australian Business Events Grants Program timeline and eligibility criteria as soon as we have some clarity from Government.

The EEAA Rebuild Strategy will now incorporate a new agreed industry charter regarding the supply chain when the industry returns, specifically developing industry agreed standards about deposits and supplier cash flow flexibilities and general principles. This is important as we cannot assume everyone will be financially and resource ready to flick the switch.

The EEAA is also reviewing its overall Membership structure as we move into the “new events world order”. Please save this year’s AGM date for 3rd December – which will be held as a hybrid event in Sydney and with satellite events in other states.

We will also run two Awards for Excellence, the Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award as well as the Unsung Hero Award on the same date as the AGM. More details will be available shortly via the EEAA team.

We feel it is important that in a year of crisis we recognise not only our young members but the unsung heroes out there that have had to pivot and redesign their product and services to survive and be ready for 2021.

Leading up to this year’s AGM, five EEAA Board positions will be up for election and I encourage you to consider nominating either a colleague in the industry or even yourself. The nominations will open on the 29th October so stay tuned.

Warm regards

Spiro Anemogiannis
President, EEAA

Source: Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia