17 Feb 2016

AACB Congratulates New Minister for Trade and Investment

The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB), congratulates the Hon Steven Ciobo MP on his appointment as Minister for Trade and Investment.

AACB CEO, Andrew Hiebl said, “Minister Ciobo is a friend of the business events sector, having pitched the most supportive policy package that the industry has seen in recent history during the 2010 federal election campaign as Shadow Minister for Tourism.”

The package included a Business Events Bid and Boost Fund of A$17.5 million over four years, as well as increased funding available to Business Events Australia of A$10.5 million over four years to increase its marketing capacity, and bringing Australia closer to its international competitors (Coalition Plan for Real Action on Tourism, 2010).

In the hung parliament that followed, the Coalition did not form government and the bid fund proposal was lost.

Through its 2016-17 Pre-Budget Submission, the AACB has called on the Australian Government to support its keystone policy of establishing a national bid fund of A$10 million per annum to help bring business events of national significance to Australia.

“Now is the time to bring this policy back to life in order to counter international competition, increase market share and build on the legacy that the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP has left the industry,” said Hiebl.

AACB President, Lyn Lewis-Smith said, “We thank the outgoing Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, for his recognition and understanding of the benefits that business events bring.”

“Minister Robb has shown unwavering support for the business events sector, which underpins more than 180,000 Australian jobs and is worth more than A$28 billion to our economy. From the start, he recognised that these high-yielding international conferences are an integral part of the government's economic diplomacy and trade agenda.”

“The Minister has championed, nationally and internationally, the new framework - Attracting Business Events to Australia: Role of Government Agencies. Since its launch in November 2014, this framework has helped to drive high-profile, strategically-aligned events to our shores.”

“I wish the Minister much success in his future endeavours and thank him for recognising the significance of the sector to Australia's interests.”

Moving forward, AACB will continue to work with Senator Colbeck as the Minister directly responsible for business events, while Ministers Ciobo and Bishop will be key advocates for the sector within Cabinet, acknowledging the important contribution that they play in economic diplomacy and fostering trade and investment outcomes.

-ENDS-

Image: The Honourable Steven Ciobo, Minister for Trade and Investment

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