Beef Australia’s organisers say they’re confident the national cattle industry expo will go ahead in May 2021, despite not knowing when the ban on mass gatherings will be lifted.
- The gross value of cattle and calf production per year to 2018 was $16.8 billion
- Beef Australia’s CEO says organisers are hoping restrictions will be eased by May 2021 allowing those outside of Queensland to attend
- Australia’s Trade and Tourism Minister says there’s no defined timeline for the reintroduction of international travel, allowing foreign buyers to attend
The event, designed to attract new domestic and international trade opportunities, is held in Rockhampton every three years and is known to draw people from across the globe.
In 2018, 1,200 visiting industry representatives from 43 different countries attended the event and more than 100,000 people walked through the gates.
Time on organiser’s side
Chief executive Ian Mill said organisers hope restrictions will be eased by mid-next year, allowing visitors from around the country to attend.
“I think there’ll be ample opportunity for us to pull it to a halt if we believe that is necessary, but at this stage it’s full steam ahead and we are planning for a bigger and better event,” he said.
“I think people will be looking for something like this to occur. We’ve had major cancellations across Australia with the Ekka and with the Royal Easter Show in Sydney.”
Data released today shows currently just one in eight people would feel comfortable attending a large event, even if they were able to.
Mr Mill said there’d been no discussions of postponing the event and he’s hopeful community attitudes will have shifted by this time next year.
“I’m hoping like everybody else, that this will be well and truly resolved and settled and people will feel a lot more comfortable about being out and mixing so that’s our plan, we’re planning for that to occur,” he said.
International attendees uncertain
Mr Mill said while organisers were confident the event will go ahead, there’s not yet a guarantee international visitors will be able to attend in person.
But he said marketing would continue in overseas countries.
Federal Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said there was no defined timeline for the reintroduction of international travel.
“It’s impossible to tell, at present, precisely when travel restrictions will be removed because that will be a matter dependent upon the health advice at the time,” he said.
“The travel restrictions we have put in place to date are working in terms of reducing the curve and the spread of coronavirus here in Australia.”
Mr Mill said organisers were hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.
‘It’s about tourism’
While Beef Australia is about industry and promoting the nation’s beef cattle industry, Mr Mill said it also shines a light on Rockhampton and brings important dollars to the regional city.
“Our principal sponsors, the Federal Government and the [Queensland] State Government, [Rockhampton Regional Council] Local Government and Meat and Livestock Australia, [are] all about trade, it’s all about tourism,” he said.
“So, the more we can expose this great industry to overseas investors and also overseas consumers that’s really the focus of the event.
“We’ve got a wonderful industry, it’s recognised overseas as top quality, it’s safe, it’s sustainable.”