THE Beef Australia 2021 industry event held in Rockhampton in May has recorded an estimated $800,000 financial loss.
The event attracted record crowds through the gate and strong corporate support, despite the considerable challenges presented by COVID.
A report published by the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin yesterday detailed the result included in correspondence discussed by the Rockhampton Regional Council at its meeting on Tuesday.
Beef Australia treasurer Richard Brosnan’s letter asked the council to waive an outstanding invoice for $71,273.
“To date Beef Australia is expecting to report a financial loss of around $800,000 for the three-year event cycle,” he said.
The organisation sustained a number of increased expenses including the extra work undertaken for COVID-19 compliance.
“Whilst we were concerned over the potential fiscal loss if the event was shut down, we took the view and attitude this was a prime opportunity to promote the industry and Rockhampton as well as providing a boost to local business and showcase the ability of the businesses for the longer term benefit,” the letter said.
The letter asked the council to waive the invoice in light of the benefits the event provided to the region and local businesses. The council elected to meet with the Beef Australia Board to discuss the invoice.
Beef 2021 attracted a total attendance of 115,886, an increase of 15 percent over the 2018 event, with the average person visiting the event for 2.81 days.
Beef Central was unable to contact Beef Australia chairman Bryce Camm for comment, however in a report published by ABC today, he blamed the losses for the three-year event cycle on COVID requirements.
“The financial result for Beef Australia was really a result of the extra planning and measures that we had to put in place to ensure that we delivered a COVID-safe event,” he said.
Mr Camm said it wasn’t the first time the event had made a loss and Beef Australia remained in a strong financial position going forward.
“The event from time to time has made a loss. Over the last couple of events some solid returns were made by the event.”
“Beef Australia is a not-for-profit. It’s always pertinent that it has enough reserves that it will always get to the next event. But the organisation is in a very solid financial position headed into 2024,” he told ABC.
Mr Camm said $600,000 of Beef Australia’s losses were the result of an investment in infrastructure for future events.
“It’s also important to clarify in the financial position that was reported to council includes two bits of major infrastructure,” he said. “Beef Australia paid for the new wash-down facilities that we built at the Rockhampton showgrounds that was to the tune of almost $300,000 worth of infrastructure. This year we also started the build on our own cattle-handling facilities in terms of the stalling to house all of those cattle in the sites that we had at Beef Week, so another $300,000 worth of investment in the infrastructure around housing those cattle.”
Figures released earlier this year by Beef Australia estimated the event had a $94 million direct and incremental impact on the greater Rockhampton Region and $76.1 million value-added economic impacts for the state.
The federal government contributed $3.9 million towards the event, while the Queensland government committed $1 million.
However, Mr Camm told ABC that hosting an international event in a regional centre was still a costly exercise.
“I think it’s very important to put into context that Beef Australia’s overall budget now is a $13 million event to host a world-class event in a regional city such as Rockhampton,” he said.