The Andrews Labor Government is playing catch up as other states have leapt ahead in their support to get business events back up and running.
Victoria only announced its inferior program as New South Wales and Queensland were closing theirs, giving the other states the jump on attracting events. By comparison, the Andrews Labor Government offered a measly $25,000 per grant whereas New South Wales offered $90,000.
Many national event organisers for 2021 and 2022 have taken advantage of more generous funding from the other states and have been confirmed to run events at interstate locations.
During the recent Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) inquiry into the 2021-22 budget estimates, the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events made mention of increasing the funding but has failed to publicise it or provide any further information. This leaves event businesses and operators in the dark and still on the back foot.
It is another kick in the guts for struggling Victorian business event operators who have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Operators have been unable to hold business events including conferences, expos and workshops due to restrictions and have not received adequate support from the Andrews Labor Government.
It’s clear the Andrews Labor Government has no plan and it’s putting the economic recovery at risk that Victorian people worked so hard to earn.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Sport, Cindy McLeish:
“Harsh and unpredictable COVID-19 restrictions have made it impossible for business events to go ahead with events confidently.
“The Andrews Labor Government’s program received heavy criticism from the events sector claiming less than 5 per cent of business events were eligible for the program.
“The Andrews Labor Government clearly has no idea how to properly support business events.”
Comments attributable to Wise Connections Managing Director, Sue Ryman-Kiernan:
“The guidelines for the current Victorian National Business Events Funding are restrictive, to be eligible there must be a minimum of 150 people, of which 30 per cent must be from interstate, attending a multi-day event. This in itself cuts out about 90 per cent of all business events.
“Moving forward funding guidelines need to be clear and the eligibility criteria need be as broad as possible to drive a wider range of business events to Victoria.”