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The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) congratulates the Australian Government for extending support to the business events industry through a boost to the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) scheme.

Announced today by the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Australian Government will inject an extra $49.8 million into the EMDG scheme in the 2019-20 financial year. This is in addition to the $60 million already committed as an election pledge, bringing funding to its highest level in more than 20 years to $207.7 million for 2019-20.

Andrew Hiebl

AACB CEO

AACB CEO, Andrew Hiebl said, “With a majority of our members eligible as Approved Bodies under the scheme, today’s announcement by Minister Birmingham provides a shot in the arm for convention bureaux around the country whose role it is to attract international business events to Australia through marketing and bidding activities.”

“This additional assistance provides certainty during tough times through an otherwise oversubscribed program, meaning that expected entitlements will be paid in full. Eligible convention bureaux will be able to position these funds to recovery efforts in what will be a highly competitive post-COVID-19 world. It is positive to see federal and state/territory governments recognising that the business events industry is vital to rebuilding Australia’s visitor and knowledge economies,” said Hiebl.

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The AACB has been consistent across its many submissions to Government, that boosting investment in successful federal grant programs such as EMDG would support convention bureaux efforts in reaching international markets and driving high yield visitation.

This announcement provides further welcome relief, confirming that applications lodged in the 2020-21 financial year can claim promotional expenses that have been impacted by COVID-19, such as tradeshow cancellations. These activities will be treated by Austrade as having taken place.