‘A chance of survival’, Oz Comic-Con organiser calls for August restart

A family-owned events business that runs many large trade shows including Oz Comic-Con is calling for the government to give the business events industry a restart date.

“We’re not asking for hand-outs or incentives, we just need a restart date to work towards,” said Gary Fitz-Roy, managing director of Expertise Events.

“Unlike other industries, we need time to restart and right now, we have no clear direction from the government. The events industry could give the economy an instant kickstart, with cash flowing throughout all aspects of the industry and associated industries.

“Globally, we’re seeing other countries re-opening their events industries, despite having higher rates of Covid infection, for example, Greece. And all we’re asking for is a start date to aim towards.”

Fitz-Roy said a good start date would be either August or September, “so that we can organise ourselves to restart and give our events and livelihoods a chance of survival”.

Fitz-Roy says that while major events and festival such as Splendour in the Grass, the Good Food & Wine Shows, the International Boat Show and Oz Comic-Con Brisbane and Sydney have postponed until 2021, smaller events may not be able to return at all.

“We urge the government to lock in a start date so we can aim towards something,” he said.

“People within the industry are feeling extremely lost and disheartened at the moment, some clarity around a restart would give people hope.

“We’re in a position, that unlike shopping centres or uncontrolled protests, we can control every aspect of our events: with physical distancing, cleaning and hygiene counter measures, temperature screening, the ability to contact trace and very clear communication. We can reassure the government and the general public that the events that they will attend will be controlled and safe.”