‘This is a sector that can get back on its feet’, PM meets with event industry leaders

Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke with business events and exhibition leaders yesterday to reassure them the government was listening to their concerns.

Representatives of the Business Events Council of Australia including Meetings & Events Australia CEO Robyn Johnson, Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia chief executive Claudia Sagripanti and ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy were among the business events leaders who met the Prime Minister at Sydney-based custom display builder DisplayWise and Creative Hire’s warehouse.

“The exhibition and business events sector, not unlike the creative sector, the entertainment sector, [was] significantly hit by Covid-19,” Morrison said. “But they are looking forward to the time ahead where they can plan and they can get their business moving again.

“This is a sector that can get back on its feet. We can get business events running again, we can get exhibitions running again, they can be done safely, they can be done economically and viably, and so today was a good opportunity to consult with the industry and get a good handle on some of the obstacles they have, some of the challenges that they will have to get across.”

Morrison’s meeting came just days before the Government formally announces planned changes to the JobKeeper scheme, which will be extended beyond September but with tighter eligibility criteria and a reduced fortnightly payment.

“There will be several months for businesses to adjust to the next phase. But the supports that have been in place since April will be in place until September, and then we’ll move into a new phase,” Morrison said.

“But I can assure you that businesses like the one we are standing in today and employees that depend on that business, will continue to get support.

“One of the ways we have been able to be effective as a country, has been because we have been listening to what is happening on the ground and we have been adapting our policies and fine-tuning them over time.

“Over 50 staff here have been kept here as a result of the JobKeeper program which has enabled DisplayWise and so many other businesses, almost a million businesses around the country, have been supported through this program. They have adapted, they have innovated, they have survived.

“And they have changed their product lines, they have reached out, and across their sector they have been creating, using the incredible tools and equipment that they have built up here, the capital they have got here to open new product lines, go online.

“And that has been one of the most inspiring things I have seen as Prime Minister all around the country, is the way that businesses have sought to adapt and to innovate to see themselves through.”

Johnson said it was “an amazing  opportunity” to speak directly with the Prime Minister about the state of the events industry.

“He had a very good understanding of the nature of the challenges and was well aware of the extensive impact that Covid-19 has had on and small and large businesses,” she said.