Joyce DiMascio, chief executive, Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia

The big news in recent weeks has been the Federal Government funding boost for business events — $12m over three years from 1 July. It will be administered by Business Events Australia (BEA) within Tourism Australia.

Getting extra funding hasn’t come easily. It has been a slog over many years — and I know this from personal experience as I was once the head of Business Events Australia. I understand the effort required to get extra resources. It started way back and while there have been incremental increases to BEA funding, this injection is a significant boost which could not have come at a better time.

It will be open to all parts of the business events sector — as Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said — it’s “agnostic”. The key is that applicants can demonstrate that the support will help to attract events that are new to Australia, will drive international visitation and will come with spending that will help fuel the Australian economy.

The achievement of securing this funding calls for a big pat on the back of many individuals and organisations who collectively agreed this would be the major focus of business events advocacy by all organisations. Those involved know who you are. But it speaks to the importance of having a strong collective voice for business events in Australia.

State Governments across the country are big investors in our sector — they generally build the infrastructure and through the convention bureaux, are behind the procurement of meetings and incentive events. In the exhibition sector, the industry does not “bid” for an event. The events are generally owned by the organisers and associations who take the entrepreneurial risk to create the opportunity for buyers and sellers to come together.

So it was very pleasing to hear the Federal Minister, Steven Ciobo, and Tourism Australia MD, John O’Sullivan, say that the business events bid fund will be to support the attraction of all types of business events. This shift of the dial is a monumental breakthrough and will reflect the model of our competitors across Asia who value all kinds of business events. Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, India, China — all put an enormous value on the exhibition industry for its capacity to drive industry development and trade — as well as the visitor economy.

So from the members of our association, we say a big thank you to Minister Steven Ciobo, John O’Sullivan and Penny Lion — and all our industry colleagues who worked over many years to make the business case for this investment.

On another matter — to help bring more young people into the business events industry, our association has developed two new traineeships in partnership with TAFE NSW and Apprenticeship Support Australia. They will soon also be available in Victoria. I urge you to look into hiring school leavers through this fantastic Government supported program. Check out the details on

And finally, key dates for your diaries: on 6 and 7 June 2018, the EEAA will be holding its annual Leaders Forum, Conference, AGM and Global Exhibitions Day Dinner. Check out or for details or contact us on [email protected].


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