By Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia , 1 March, 2019

The Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has continued its active representation work in the Federal Parliament when it joined the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) to discuss business events with the Members of Parliament who are part of Labor Friends of Tourism.

EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio was onstage at the event with Shadow Minister for Tourism and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Anthony Albanese MP and Stephen Wood, General Manager of the National Convention Centre, Canberra, in a forum that was chaired by the Hon. Josh Wilson MP, Member for Fremantle and the current convener of the Labor Friends of Tourism.

“This was an historic “first” for the business events sector and a most timely opportunity to seek Labor’s support for the policy and funding priorities of Australia’s business events sector.” Ms DiMascio said.

“We have a strong message for Labor that investing in the business events sector is good for the national economy and has the potential to boost prosperity in both urban and regional Australia. The EEAA was honored to be invited by the Australian Chamber to be part of the Labor Friends of Tourism forum.

“Business events are a powerhouse of the visitor economy with flow-on benefits beyond tourism. To meet with the Labor MPs three months out from the federal election was another opportunity to advocate the merits backing our sector.

Our message to the Labor MPs was clear, that the business events sector has the potential to boost the economy but it needs to be supported through a fresh commitment of funding to Tourism Australia and through other key agencies including Austrade and Tourism Research Australia.

Our policy ask echoes the policy priorities developed with the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA). They are:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A national infrastructure mapping study to identify the gaps and priorities for business events infrastructure in metro and regional areas.
  • In Skills and Training – 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.
  • Temporary skilled labour visa reform to enable the industry to more easily respond to fluctuating demands with a more flexible temporary visa system.
  • Growth Industries Business Events Team to link our outcomes with those associated with the Industry Growth Centre Initiatives.

“It was pleasing to hear both Josh Wilson and Anthony Albanese see the importance of business events within the visitor economy, with both acknowledging that the economic opportunities presented by our sector deserved Labor’s attention.”

Discussing business events with these two key MPs in an industry forum at Parliament House is a powerful strategy for putting the spotlight on the potential for business events.

Anthony Albanese could not be drawn on making any announcements regarding Labor policy, however he did assure the industry that Labor would have a policy unlike the Coalition which presented no Tourism or Business Events policy at the last federal election.

“We thank the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for putting business events on the agenda at the Labor Friends of Tourism forum and we thank our industry colleagues who joined us at Parliament House to show a strong and unified sector.” Ms DiMascio said

Source: EEAA