Australian will provide businesses with AUD 50 million (USD 36 million) in grants to kickstart the business events sector, which normally generates AUD 36 billion (USD 26 billion) in income annually.
Businesses who participate in government-approved business events in 2021, such as trade shows, exhibitions, and conferences, can apply to have up to 50% of their costs subsidised via the Business Grants Hub. Firms will receive an upfront amount of up to AUD 250,000 (USD 182,075), which will help to cover operating costs including venue rentals, display construction, travel, and accommodation.
The programme is targetted at stimulating domestic tourism, strengthening local supply chains, and supporting businesses – both firms participating directly as well as those in the events and hospitality industries.
The promotion of large-scale business events will be a major shift in the status quo, considering 95% of business events in 2020 were cancelled or postponed, according to Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham.
“Getting business events up and running again will be a critical part of the recovery of our tourism industry, but will also have huge flow-on effects through the entire economy,” explained Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a media release last Friday.
Australia is currently in a historic recession, with national GDP having contracted by a record 7% last quarter – the “largest fall in quarterly GDP since records began in 1959”.
Businesses have also seen their top line impacted by the pandemic, with 41% of firms reporting a decrease in revenue in August, although this was a slight improvement from July (47%).
Australia has seen a steady decline in daily COVID-19 cases since its second wave peaked in early August – 50 new cases were reported nationwide in the last 24 hours, 41 of which were from Victoria.
However, Melbourne, the capital of Australia’s hardest-hit state Victoria, will remain under lockdown for the seventh consecutive week, although restrictions have been eased slightly from today.
Daily New Reported COVID-19 Cases in Australia (Source)
Australia’s increased focus on business events to stimulate the economy echoes Singapore’s new policies, which have recently introduced stricter contract tracing requirements to enable larger-scale B2B events, such as conferences, to resume.
For more information on governmental support available for Australian businesses, click here.